Erika Johnston

Name ID 1689

See also

Johnston, Erika The other side of Kilimanjaro
Page Number: 025
Extract Date: 1930's

A full circle

When I came to live at Ol Molog I had completed a full circle, for I was born on a farm twelve miles away. As there was an age gap of eight years between my nearest sister and I, and as my three sisters (my brother had died of pneumonia) all left home rather prematurely, I spent a good deal of my early childhood depending on African children for companionship. At one stage my only friend was a chimpanzee.

An European school was started in Arusha, and when the headmaster once lunched with my parents he was appalled to discover that I had only an ape as a companion, and he persuaded them to send me to his school. I went as a boarder at the tender age of four and a half; the only advantage of which that I could see was that thereafter I was always below the class average age and therefore considered rather bright!

I can't work out from the book when Erika was born. Aursha School openeed in Arusha in 1934 (although David Read has a photo of it dated 1932). So I'm guessing she was born in the late 1920's.

Extract ID: 4455

See also

Johnston, Erika The other side of Kilimanjaro
Page Number: 024
Extract Date: 1950's


I had conditioned myself to the fact that I would spend the rest of my days as Robin's part-time secretary, part-time companion and good close friend. I had equated this with losing him altogether.

In Arusha I worked for a man called Benbow in a hotel and he was giving me a farewell party for I had decided to change jobs. Robin, Ben and I were strolling round a recently completed new wing of the hotel in which was the room where the party was to be held. In making the appropriate noises about its decor, Robin casually said: "Oh, Ben, you may as well announce Erika's and my engagement at the party."

I was struck speechless but I did manage to hear Ben say that in that case he hoped Robin would be able to attend. Robin excused himself. He had to be present at a meeting of the Kilimanjaro West Farmers' Association on that particular night.

At the party after presenting me with an attractive watch for long service (eight months) Ben announced our engagement. People looked surprised, delighted or relieved, depending on how cynical they were. A girl standing close to me looked outraged.

"Well, you've certainly got yourself the most eligible bachelor in East Africa!"

I did not know about that, but the eligible bachelor was already paving the way for my future life, for at the farmers' meeting he was elected chairman of the Association and put my name forward as secretary.

As all the Ol Mologans were up in Nairobi recuperating from our wedding, we spent our honeymoon at Ol Molog. The day after we were married I woke up to find a note propped up on the breakfast table: "Darling, I've had to fly to Moshi. Be a dear and take a look at the paper work."

Paper work! As I looked at the office table piled high with unopened correspondence, I realized that in the past I had only touched on the fringe of his work. As I sat down to deal with it, I began to suspect the reasons for him marrying me.

Extract ID: 4454

See also

1971 Publishes: Johnston, Erika The other side of Kilimanjaro

Extract ID: 4439

See also

Johnston, Erika The other side of Kilimanjaro
Page Number: 00 dust jacket
Extract Date: 1971

The Other Side of Kilimanjaro

Erika Johnston, daughter of one of East Africa's early pioneers, writes her personal story which is one of the closing days of the British Empire; and it is bound to stir nostalgic memories in the minds of all associated with it or the countries of which she writes.

Married to Robin Johnston, ex Administrative Officer of the Colonial Service and a distinguished fighter pilot, she tells of their farming life on the northern slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro and how, reluctantly, they finally decided to leave Tanzania following Independence. Sir Archie McIndoe, the well-known plastic surgeon, was a partner of their farm and a regular visitor to them in East Africa. Close friends and neighbours were Michael Wood, the motivating power behind the East Africa Flying Doctor Service, and his wife Sue, daughter of the great missionary, Alfred Buxton. The personalities of these remarkable people come vividly alive, as does that of David Stirling of Western Desert fame and founder of the Capricorn Movement, which strove so hard to find a solution to racial problems but found ill-success amongst extremist politicians.

Here is a personal story of a full life in a glorious setting, the Johnston trials and successes, their deep affection for the country and their African associates, their lovely farm and their aspirations.

There is humour and pathos in this moving story of a chapter in the life of Tanzania which is unlikely to be seen again.

In rescuing this story from the oblivion which might have overtaken it in the prevailing mood of British publishing, the publishers feel that they are performing a real service in accordance with the best traditions of their firm.


Dust Jacket by Ernest Ullman

Extract ID: 4463