This book is the story of the baboon Darwin, but even more it is the story of Karin Saks from South Africa who for several years had intensive contacts with baboons. Darwin being one of them.

In the late nineteennineties Karin is asked to take care of a baboon named Gismo. The baboon stays for several months with her. After that an attempt is made to bring Gismo back to the wild. She moves to the area of Mosdene . A long process starts to get Gismo adopted by an existing group of baboons.

In May 1998 Karin and her friend Pauuls move to a house in a rural area. They find out about a group of baboons  in their area. Karen manages to make contact with the group . She finds out about another group in the same neighbourhood. And in the same year, but in the month of september, Darwin arrives. A baboon, about two weeks old. His two hindlegs are broken and/or paralyzed. Karen takes care of this small baboon, with the hope that it will one day be part of the local group, even though Darwin has a severe handicap.

When the relationship with Paul breaks down Karen moves out with Darwin. But later on she moves in again. The male leader of the group dies. And the leader of the other, more aloof, group, tries to rule over both groups, even going as far as killing the young ones of his new group.

In October 1999 Karen finds herself in the Magaliesmountains where she want to start her own sanctuary for baboons. Volunteers from abroad come and go. The life of the baboons is not a cosy life.  Killing is part of their existence.

In the end Karen moves out of a life with baboons. For several years she tried hard to make an impact.  But baboons are considered by others a nuisance and the final station of a bullet.

And once again I got the impression that naturepreservation is an all-white bussiness.

 Fransje van Riel – The world according to Darwin and other baboons – 2002

the world according to Darwin




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I enjoy reading about Africa. New books. Old books. By African writers. By non-African writers. Novel. History. Travel. Biographies. Autobiographies. Politics. Colonialism. Poetry.


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