The Cold War, colonialism, the slave trade – three historic events that link the East African archipelago of Zanzibar with Germany. In a docudrama, H.C. Buch recounts the beginning of German research on Africa on three different levels of action, from the colonisation of German-East Africa until Zanzibar’s independence in the 1960s.
There are true stories that are more ludicrous than any invented stories could be. This historical Africa adventure novel is based on such a story. In 1913, the imperial colonial office sent three manual workers from the Meyer shipyard in Papenburg, Emsland, to Lake Tanganyika in the former German East Africa to assemble a 67 metre long steam boat.
Fritz Binder, a postman from Solingen, is fascinated by his family history according to which his great-grandfather, long legged son of a gardener, Leonhard Hagenbuch, not only participated as botanist in the first ascent ever of the Kilimanjaro undertaken under the leadership of Africa explorer Hans Meyer in 1898, but could also be considered as the actual discoverer of the Usambara violets.
In the summer of 1947 in the destroyed Hessian town Gießen, Heinrich Witt struggles along as a haulier, blackmarket peddler and drug dealer. Other characters include the Polish immigrant worker Stani, the East Prussian Otto, the resolute communist Erna, the crook Ziervogel and his girlfriend Jana, a gypsy.
Tuso and his older brother Daudi, live with their aunt in a village at the foot of Kilimanjaro. The aunt does not treat her two nephews well. One night, Daudi decides to leave for the town along with Tuso. They make their way to the closest city.
Herman Schulz's novel takes place in the british colony of Tanzania in the 1930s. Friedrich Ganse, a German missionary, comes back from a journey and is faced with the fragments of his family life: His wife died of a deadly fever and he is given the advice to bring his daughter out of town as soon as possible. Thus he soon sits in a small log Canoe to paddle his daughter down ward the stream to the next bigger town.
Nelson and Mandela live in Bagamoyo, Tanzania, on the shores of the Indian Ocean. The twins were born when Nelson Mandela became president of South Africa. Both of them play in the junior football club, Nelson as captain and Mandela as defender. All the children in the football club have to help their families so they cannot train regularly.
The novel follows the journeys of the historical figure, Richard Francis Burton, who “collected worlds” in the 19th
century, like some people collect stamps. Each of his three travel destinations is described in a separate part of the novel. In the third part of the journey, East Africa, Burton undertakes an exploratory journey to find the source of the Nile.
In 1907, the painter Fritz Wildhagen undertakes a journey to East Africa. The starting point of this determinative journey is Germany with final destination Mombassa via Port-Said, Zanzibar and Dar Es–Salaam.
The journey of the artist, Wildhagen is consequent upon an invitation from the secretary in charge of colonial affairs Dernburg who expects Wildhagen to produce paintings of the African fauna and flora during the journey.