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The Congo and the Cameroons
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Home Mary Kingsley Mary Kingsley. Books Series Biography. Travels in West Africa Mary Kingsley Lynnette Turner Edited by A remarkable account by a pioneering woman explorer who was described by Rudyard Kipling as 'the bravest woman of all my knowledge'. Buy from.
A Hippo Banquet Mary Kingsley. The Congo and the Cameroons Mary Kingsley. Penguin Little Black Classics Books. Sign up to the Penguin newsletter For the latest books, recommendations, offers and more. Please enter an email.
MARY KINGSLEY (1862-1900) African Explorer
Please enter a valid email address. The family moved to Cambridge shortly afterwards, and Mary was able to gain some schooling in medicine — which would come in handy in the African jungle.
Family obligations kept her tied to England until the death of her parents Her inheritance finally enabled her to pursue her lifelong dream of exploring Africa. It was considered both exceptional and dangerous for a woman to be travelling alone at the time, especially in the still largely uncharted interior of the continent. This did not dissuade her. After additional training in the treatment of tropical diseases, Mary set off into the Angolan jungle completely alone.
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There she lived alongside the local people; learning their languages, their methods of surviving in the wilderness, and seeking to understand them to a far greater extent than many of her predecessors. After the success of this first trip, she returned to England to secure more funds, publicity and supplies, before returning as quickly as she could. This second trip, in , saw her taking even greater risks, traveling deeper into little-known territory. She encountered witch-doctors, cannibals and practitioners of bizarre local religions.
She respected these traditions but was troubled by the crueller practices.
The Female Explorer Who Taught Men a Lesson in Humanity | Flashback | OZY
Her notes and memoirs were wry and witty, and contained many new observations about the practices and lifestyles of these untouched tribes. To some, such as the Fang people of Cameroon and Gabon, she was the first westerner they had ever known, a responsibility that she seems to have enjoyed and cherished. This second expedition was a great success.
It even saw her become the first westerner — let alone woman — to climb Mount Cameroon by a new and dangerous route.
Mary Kingsley: Explorer of the Congo (Women Explorers)
Ironically, Mary did all she could to distance herself from the early suffragettes , being more interested in the rights of African tribes. Yet despite the negativity of the press, Mary toured the UK giving lectures on African culture to packed audiences.
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Her views were certainly ahead of her time.
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