Scots actress Louise Linton accused of ‘lies’ over memoirs

Holywood actress Louise Linton, from Lasswade
Holywood actress Louise Linton, from Lasswade

SCOTS actress Louise Linton is facing a backlash over claims in a book that she almost died at the hands of African rebels.

Edinburgh-born Linton - who has appeared in films alongside Tom Cruise and Robert Redford - published a memoir of her gap year in “darkest Africa” earlier this year.

But the actress has been widely ridiculed on social media with some critics claiming her dramatic story does not add up.

They claim there is little or no evidence of insurgent activity in Zambia in 1999, when Linton was there.

The book, In Congo’s Shadow, is billed as “the inspiring memoir of an intrepid teenager who abandoned her privileged life in Scotland”.

It is further claimed to be “a tale of lost innocence and one daring young girl’s bittersweet journey to the heart of Africa”.

The 290-page book contains a passage where “armed rebels descended” on her village - entering the country from neighbouring Congo.

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According to her book Linton was forced to hide from the rebels for fear of being murdered or raped.

But Zambians and UK readers alike have taken to social media to claim there are inaccuracies in her story - and accusing her of having a “white saviour complex”.

Many are claiming that there were no such raids in the areas at the time. One said that his 60 year-old step-mother - who has lived in the country since the age of 18 - has “never heard” of any such rebels.

Among those making the claims another is one man who says he owns a fishing lodge near the one Linton volunteered at.

He says a Congolese rebel boat did arrive at one point - in a different area to where Linton was staying - but that they were “tired, hungry and thirsty”, and had come to surrender.

Gerard Zytkow wrote: “I know all of this because I was there.

“Shame on her for her mind boggling and nonsensical fiction. Her book should be banned. Or at least be presented as warped fiction.”

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Quoting Linton, one other Twitter user wrote: “‘The dense jungle canopy above me?’ Zambia has savanna grasslands, not dense jungle. But I guess ‘English girl experience’.

Others have pointed out that there are no “12 inch spiders” in the country as per her claims, and some have pointed out that Linton writes about the monsoon season - which Zambia does not have.

Others put a more humourous spin on her claims.

Muchemwa Sichone wrote: “The only thing missing from the Louise Linton story is Tarzan and Mowgli.”

Luse Fiasco posted an image of a white doll carrying a black child in front of a jungle hut.

She captioned it: “Dodging rebels and wildlife close calls in Africa’s darkest jungles of Zambia.”

Her book has also been greeted with scorn on Amazon - where it currently has 58 one star reviews, with just two five star reviews.

Among them one writes: “Would be funny if it wasn’t so horrifyingly patronising and untrue. The Zambia she describes has simply never existed.

“There have never been machete-wielding armed militia in Lusaka, the Hutu-Tutsi conflict never spilled over into Zambia, there are no 12-inch rain spiders, there is no jungle. This woman is...trying to cash in on the western world’s ridiculously narrow view of Africa, with evidently no qualms about slandering an entire country.”

Another added: “This book is total fiction, these events never happened in Zambia, at either Ndole Bay or Kasaba Bay in Lake Tanganika, I know the owners of both these lodges - and they took Louise in as a gap student.

Linton has responded to the criticism on Twitter.

She wrote: “I am genuinely dismayed and very sorry to see that I have offended people as this was the very opposite of my intent.

“I wrote with the hope of conveying my deep humility, respect and appreciation for the people of Zambia as an 18yr old in 1999.

“I wrote about the country’s incredible beauty and my immense gratitude for the experiences I had there.”