GANDOURA by Gabriel Ellison
The story of Gandoura travels from England to Zambia and documents the facts
about the Lenshina Rebellion, a religious cult formed just before Zambia’s independence, that issued passports to heaven for all their members, but was
to end in massacre.
Peter Halley’s life turns to one of vocation when he leaves the army after the Second World
War and becomes one of the White Fathers; missionaries to Africa, identifiable
by their white gandouras. His childhood in England had been difficult, with the
early loss of his mother and his father’s remarriage. There was an expectation that he should join his father as an
architect, but the army’s call was stronger.
Becoming a White Father is not easy for someone who has experienced years of
reasonable affluence. In giving up all material thoughts of comfort and
eschewing the woman he has known since childhood Peter’s faith is truly proved.
He is sent to the mission in Abercorn, at that time in Northern Rhodesia, during
a particularly difficult period. The Lenshina Rebellion is in full flow and
many local people turn from the Roman Catholic Church to the Lumpa Church.
Peter has particular experience of this through Chitalu, a girl who attends the
mission school but whose family become followers of Alice Lenshina and the
Against this background the history of the Lenshina Rebellion and the battle of
the United National Independence Party to gain independence for Zambia unfold
The characters of the story becoming swept along by these historical events.
Gabriel Ellison is a renowned graphic design artist and writer working from
Zambia. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and received an MBE for
services to Graphic Art as well as an OGDS (Order of Distinguished Service).
For many years she was a fellow of the British Display Society and the
Chartered Society of Designers, and the Head of the Graphic Art Section for the
Zambia Information Department.
Her writing includes children’s story books published by Macmillan, UK and Bookworld Publishers, and also
novels and non-fiction work of Zambian historical interest. Some of her stories
have been broadcast on the BBC World Service.