🙂 Really brought Out of Africa to life.
🙁 One can only imagine her sadness at her loss of her African life and leaving her farm.
“I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills.” This is probably the first thing most people think about when they hear the name Karen Blixen… The book Out of Africa and then the film with the brilliant Meryl Streep and Robert Redford… an all time best book and film.
Interesting facts about Karen.
“Barua a Soldani” means “letter from a King.” It is a story about a letter Karen Blixen received from Danish King Christian X as thanks for a lion-skin she had sent him. When inspecting her land one day, she found a young man from the Kikuyu tribe whose leg had been crushed under a felled tree. As she did not have any morphine with her, she decided to place the King’s letter on the young Kikuyu’s chest and tell him that a letter from a king “will do away with all pain.” It worked, and from that day onward the King’s “miracle-working” letter became part of her medicine stock. It was used so often that it gradually became, in Karen Blixen’s words, “brown and stiff with blood and matter of long ago.”
Karen Blixen showed creative talent early in life, but it was not until later that she started writing. In 1902, at the age of 17, she took classes at the private drawing school of Charlotte Sode and Julie Meldahl in Copenhagen, and the following year she was accepted by the newly established women’s school at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. Her most well-known artworks are: Young Kikuyu Girl and Abdullahi Ahamed. Here are two of her painting which were on the farm.
The Nairobi suburb that stands on the land where Karen Blixen farmed coffee is now named Karen. Karen Blixen called her house in Kenya ‘Bogani’ or ‘Mbogani’ meaning ‘a house in the woods’.
In her later life, Karen Blixen struggled with ill health, something that she attributed to having been infected with syphilis by her philandering husband (Baron von Blixen-Fineke) at the age of 29. It is believed that some of her symptoms were due to being treated with mercury and arsenic, the prescribed treatment for syphilis in her time. She eventually died of malnutrition, as a result of an unsuccessful gastric ulcer surgery in 1962.
Kamante Gatura (1912-1985) was a Kenyan national of the Kikuyu tribespeople. As a young boy his family exchanged work for wages and the right to live on the undeveloped farmland of Karen Blixen. Once she recognised his keen intelligence, Mr. Gatura became Blixen’s cook and finally good friend.
It was a very interesting tour and we enjoyed learning the above. little know facts about this brave and determined and talented woman who did so much for the community she briefly touched.
Go Back to: Giraffe Centre
Go to : Sheldrick Trust