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Drums on the Night Air: A Woman's Flight from Africa's Heart of Darkness

Veronica Cecil

4 Reviews

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Autobiography: general, Prose: non-fiction

The powerful and moving account of one woman's flight from Africa's heart of darkness

Veronica Cecil was twenty-five years old when her husband was offered a job at a large multi-national company in the Congo. Filled with enthusiasm for their new life, the couple and their eleven-month-old son set off for an African adventure.

Very soon, however, Veronica began to realise that life in the Congo was not what she had imagined. Food shortages were an everyday occurrence; she felt like an outsider at the club in Leopoldville, which only the Belgians and other expats frequented; and flickers of violence were starting to erupt everywhere.

Six months later Veronica and her family were sent to Elizabetha, a remote palm oil plantation on the banks of the Congo River. But even here paradise didn't last. Civil war broke out, and the rebels captured the neighbouring town of Stanleyville and took all the whites hostage. Despite the fact that Veronica was on the verge of giving birth, the situation was so dangerous that she and her toddler had to be evacuated. Leaving her husband and all their possessions behind, she and her son began on a two-day journey through the jungle. But on the plane back to Leopoldville, the first labour pains began...

Praise for Letters From Abroad, written and read by Veronica Cecil, BBC Radio 4: '... absolutely enthralling' Daily Telegraph; 'Blending her personal memories with the wider picture, Miss Cecil effortlessly packs more into her quarter hour than many an hour long documentary...' Daily Mail.

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Praise for Drums on the Night Air: A Woman's Flight from Africa's Heart of Darkness

  • A story of hope and hopelessness, of a woman fleeing for her life...a compelling tale of a country in turmoil.

  • Frank and compelling. - The Pulse

  • Absolutely enthralling - Daily Telegraph

  • A gripping page-turner. - Oldie

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Veronica Cecil

Veronica Cecil was born in India during the time of the British Raj. Formerly a writer of radio and television plays, she became a radio journalist after the death of her husband, writing for BBC Radio 3, Radio 4 and the World Service. She has worked on 'Woman's Hour', 'Kaleidoscope' and wrote a series called Letters from Abroad. Veronica Cecil lives in London's Notting Hill Gate. She is the mother of four and grandmother of nine.

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