Uncommon Traveler: Mary Kingsley in Africa
by Don Brown
In 1893, Mary Kingsley, a self-educated British woman, travelled to Africa by herself. At that time, single female explorers were virtually unheard of. That she even thought of such a journey was remarkable considering her isolated childhood. Between the ages of eight and thirty, she never left her house! With an often absent father and an invalid mother, she spent her time cleaning, nursing, and performing household repairs. No one knows how she learned to read, but reading was her favourite activity. After her parent's deaths, she was free to do whatever she liked, and she chose to go to Africa. Africa, she would later say, was her real home.
Don Brown's luminous, dreamy watercolours depict Kingsley's adventures with gentleness and humor. Kingsley herself is as fearless as Madeline.
An enlightening story.