The Dust Diaries

Seeking the African Legacy of Arthur Cripps

Owen Sheers


Book not available in Zimbabwe.


At a family reunion in Wales several years ago, the prize-winning poet Owen Sheers stumbled across the mesmerizing story of his great-great-uncle Arthur Cripps, a mysterious figure who turned from poetry to missionary work in Africa and ultimately became a shaman-like figure, ministering to the locals. Arthur Cripps left his native England in a ship set for southern Rhodesia in 1900. He chose to exile himself from the Anglican church, factions of which branded him a heretic and burned down his churches. All the while he hid the soul-racking secret of what had driven him from England into the heart of Africa.


What, then, is the value of Sheers' story? It challenges readers to reflect on their own relationships with Africa, imagined an otherwise. Lesli Bessant, The International Journal of African Historical Studies


Owen Sheers is a Welsh poet, author, playwright and TV presenter. He is Professor in Creativity at Swansea University.