Author: Geoffrey Clarfield

Barefoot Over the Serengeti: A Visit with David Read

“When [the Masai] gave you their word or made a promise, it meant something,” the author David Read (1922-2015) said to me in his last days, during an interview at his home in rural Tanzania. “They were also very generous. If they were laying on a feast and you were around, you were automatically invited. That meant you ate a lot of meat and drank a lot of their beer. In the early days in [the village of] Loliondo, my mother became the local nurse to Masai for miles around. And so, when the depression hit in 1929, no one had any money, my stepfather had to go far away to try his hand at mining. Every day, the Masai delivered milk and some meat for my mother and our family. We were very fortunate, and they kept us alive.” Read’s oeuvre—including Barefoot Over the Serengeti, Another Load of Bull, Beating About the Bush, and his novel about a Masai warrior set in pre-colonial times, The Waters of the Sanjan—evoke the life of an Englishman …