About The Book

Waiting for the Rains

This is a new book by Roger J. Barton. It is an memoir of Africa, about life in Malawi and Zambia in the 1970s and 1980s. 

It is about the author’s life, the people and their lives: the bars; music; villages; travelling by overland buses in the savanna and minibuses in the towns; markets; hotels and confrontations with bureaucracy and the military. The book is about day-to-day experiences which are only able to be told by actually living there. It reflects the daily struggle for people all over Africa south of the Sahara and which continues to this day. Much in this story is still the same today, as rural life has changed little over decades.

The author visited most countries in the region by car, train, lake steamer or local bus. Travelling through Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and Mozambique the effects of the liberation wars raging during the period are vividly recounted, where roads were mined, cities bombed and trains attacked. It is also about the animals and insects that invade both you and your home, the excessive heat, rain and six months without rain. The book details politics and how ‘strongmen’ get into power and manipulate a country.

It is also about the lives of expatriates, many having stayed on. Mission stations and squatter townships have all been visited.

Many accounts of Africa are by correspondents flown in. They dispatch reports and leave.  The author was living there and has returned to see what has changed.

“Waiting for the Rains” a memoir of Africa, is a personal account, well illustrated with colour photographs and each chapter can be read without losing continuity. The smells and colours leap from the pages. To understand Africa and its complexities, read it. The book retails at £8.99 and can be ordered direct from Dovetail Press and several online book stores. Use the link below to sample text and photographs.

“Travelling by public transport in developing countries is inevitably an adventure, which can be exhilarating or frustrating, but never boring. The experience really starts before departure and appears to blend seamlessly into the journey itself. It is as if all the confusion and chaos of the waiting time accompanies you on to the vehicle itself. It is a mechanism by which the western traveller can get the closest to local life without the insulation of tour buses and even taxis. It is a confrontation with the heat, jostling, noise, smells, delays and characteristics of the country. A ready-made package of culture, which you the traveller must interact with, adjust to, come to terms with and realise it is not a show. This is real life carried on by ordinary people, every day and in every town and city.” Waiting for the Rains.

Click here for sample of text and photo material