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When Tineke Van der Eecken first arrives in Africa as part of an international aid programme, she brings with her a mix of childhood dreams and Western preconceived ideas. 'I came to Africa in high heels,' she writes. But when she moves to Zambia, Tineke falls in love - in a completely new way - with the country and its culture. Now she dreams of setting up a 'cultural restaurant' where locals and tourists alike can sample authentic Zambian cuisine, music and dance. Her dream comes true, but can it last? In the attempt to meet the expected challenges, Tineke must come through some unexpected tests and trials that take her not only beyond borders, but also past boundaries. She wonders if what matters may not be the success of her venture so much as the person she is becoming ... Set against a shifting backdrop of social, political and cultural life in Zambia, this part-memoir, part-travelogue, part-coming-of-age story is a celebration of friendship, not just with people, but with a county. This new edition of the book includes The Music of Café d'Afrique, a compilation CD with recordings of original by Brian Zanji, Maureen Lilanda and Chilu Lemba. The book comes in two versions, one in paperback, and one with a jacketed hard cover. The CD can be either ordered for inclusion (hard cover books only), or downloaded. The book and CD will appeal to all adult readers who dream of going to Africa, and to those who have been.
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'Café d'Afrique: A Personal Discovery' tells a true story, as I remember it. The events are real; minor changes have been made to the chronology for the purpose of brevity and flow. The characters of the people are real too, but the names of people other than the performing artists and of myself, have been changed in order to protect each person's privacy.
By sharing this true story, I have painted a canvas of what life in Zambia was like in a significant time in the country's history. The ten years I had spent in Zambia gave me insights into daily life, the development and importance of relationships and culture in all its forms. And I was able to covey this through the story of Café d'Afrique, the small business I shared with others in Lusaka and knew well.
I was aware that I was not an outsider, an anonymous observer. This story could in my view only truthfully be told from a personal perspective, and this perspective in itself had to be examined.
Tineke Van der Eecken was born in Belgium where she obtained a Masters Degree in Criminological Sciences before leaving to work for the United Nations in Africa. She lives in Western Australia and writes creative non-fiction and poetry. 'Cafe d'Afrique' is her first book.
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