It started off as a story that haunted me and wouldn’t let go. I learned about the life of Janet Rae Johnson Mondlane when I spent the best part of a year in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique in sub-Saharan East Africa, more than a decade ago.
While I was there, and as a way to make the most of my stay, I did several things. I substitute taught at the American School. I tutored a few graduate students in English. And every week I sought out an adventure and took photos to share with people back home on a website called Come to Africa with Me. It was intended for elementary children, but I think some older people read it as well.
Formerly known as Portuguese East Africa, Mozambique, a beautiful country with 1,500 miles of coastline on the Indian Ocean, was a colony of Portugal for 500 years. To say that the native people were taken advantage of is a blatant understatement. But that’s another story. It was in the course of researching the country’s raw and recent history that I learned about the lives of Janet and Eduardo Mondlane.
During the 1960’s, a tide of revolution swept the African continent. Some countries went to war and some colonizers saw the handwriting on the wall and gave up their ill-gotten land. Portugal was one of the last countries to give up their colony and that didn’t happen until 1975 following a 10-year guerilla war effort.
All that is background for the story of a 17-year-old American girl who fell irrevocably in love with a 31-year-old Mozambican with a revolution in his future. White Shadow is the story of Janet’s lifelong love affair and the ways in which it affected the rest of her life.
White Shadow is available at Amazon and locally in Loveland at Whampus Books and Fort Collins at Trimble Court Artisans.