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Title

The Warriors from Loanda

Plot

Two unscrupulous ivory hunters are unexpectedly stranded in the dense jungles of the Congo and soon succumb to the heat and humidity of the rain forest.  As isolation takes its toll, the two hunters slowly go mad and waste away.

Episode

0624

Air Dates

  • First Run - March 28, 1977
  • Repeat - August 11, 1977
  • Repeat - September 8, 1979

Actors

Writer

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Rating

42
33     9


4 Responses to Episode 0624

Two ivory hunters are stranded in the Congo, one of them ill with fever in the heat and humidity. The isolation takes a toll on them.

Ronelle Boni

wow! what a story! those men went stark raving mad!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

terene jones

Many of the plot twists are almost identical to the Joseph Conrad short story 'An Outpost of Progress', collected in the anthology 'Tales of Unrest'.

D.C. Klinkensmit

Given that this, in following the tradition of other Joseph Conrad written tales, has a morose ending, it might be good to tell (as CBS RMT radio contemporary Paul Harvey would have said) "the rest of the story". I've been blessed with some recent contact with this area. - I haven't read the short story, but it doesn't sound like these inexperienced Europeans from "cold, dark coasts" got very far into the jungle, and mightn't have gone into the equatorial forests at all. The Congo isn't continuously as navigable as other major rivers as the Amazon or Mississippi, being interrupted by cataracts (stretches of shallower water punctuated by many boulders and rocky inlets) to the degree that a railroad has been built from a port about 70s on the Congo east of the Atlantic to the (Democratic Republic Republic of) Congo capital of Kinshasa even farther east, where the main part of the river flows after making a vast semicircle around the nation. That part of the river flows past jungles (like those of the inner Amazon) where the trees are so tall and thick one can experience a feeling of "midnight-at-high-noon" - total darkness if you don't have a light source. Not only would the two agents have likely never made it out, but any elephants they would have found would have been smaller. The biggest elephants are found where there is more open range (more on that in a moment). - Given that the two agents hated the humid coast, and that the "warriors from Loanda" were such bad guys, it was DEFINITELY unlikely that any european would have been caught anything but dead in the warriors' territory, wasn't it? Well, not exactly. "Loanda" is another spelling of "Luanda" a city that today has been aiming to become either "Africa's Miami" or "Africa's Dubai", or both. Luanda is the capital of the nation of Angola, a Portuguese-speaking nation twice the size of Texas, currently with sub Saharan Africa's third largest economy after South Africa and Nigeria. By the time the British colonized places like modern-day Kenya, the Portuguese had been in what's now Angola for hundreds of years. In addition, while groups from other European nations would settle mainly in certain areas (i.e. the "white highlands" of what's now Kenya) the Portuguese fanned out throughout Angola, and did so with a seeming pioneer's mentality. It was apparently not uncommon, as Angola GENUINELY progressed (Conrad's original story here was "An outpost of progress") to find Portuguese living on dirt roads while native Angolans (ostensibly the minority which were well off) lived on paved streets! In recent years as Angola's economy has taken off, many Portuguese have left their nation (which was western Europe's third world nation until tourists discovered it, making it now the "Florida of Europe") to move to their former colony to make a buck, and one has been able to see white Portuguese bartenders serving black Angolan executives and leaders in the watering holes of Luanda. I'm telling you, many Portuguese absolutely LOVE this city, and Angola. And even though the Portuguese were kicked out around Angola's independence in 1975 (good thing for them if they avoided the HORRIFIC Civil War which ranged decades afterward, which we'll return to along with the elephants shortly) the former LOVED and still love the place, and have come back as a significant minority. Just this week, a white man with a Portuguese name attempted to set the Guinness World Record for "continuous walking on a treadmill" at a Luanda shopping mall. No word whether he was successful. BTW, native Angolans and mixed Angolan/Portuguese families have embraced the Iberian peninsula (?) tradition of celebrating a daughter's 15th birthday, known among Mexicans in America as "QuinceaƱera". Though the celebrations are called different names, you likely wouldn't believe how much money these Angolan families of means spend on them. (BTW, while some here would think they traded ivory for something worse, Angola's economy became so big because of vast offshore petroleum deposits found at the mouth and on either side of the Congo where it empties into the Atlantic Ocean. It's quite possible that the remote trading post of this story was on land very close to where many ex-pat engineers and oil industry specialists still are stationed, temporarily, but earning a lot more money. Given the volatility of oil prices Angola (Africa's second biggest producer) is trying to rediversify its economy. When the Portuguese were there the nation was Africa's largest coffee grower, and it also has the continent's 3rd or 4th largest deposits of diamonds.) - Finally, back to the warriors. It makes sense in this story that they brought huge tusks to trade for men. Angola has a significant wildlife population, and would have had larger elephants in the partially forested plateaus surrounding present-day Luanda than could be found in the tropical forests of the Congolese nations. That being said, the terrible civil war wiped out a huge chunk of Angola's wildlife either through being hunted for food, or being killed by the countless land mines which were deployed (and which are still being cleared out). The communist government in place offered safer haven from the war in the city of Luanda at the price of learning Portuguese (yes, communist governments don't give a flip about multiculturalism when it doesn't suit their needs) over one's tribal tongue. There are whole generations of Angolans who have forgotten their tribe's language, but the nation is more unified and homogenous as a result. (One could wonder whether that wasn't a fitting fate for a tribe which, in this story, slaughtered elephants in exchange for european slaves, but that's not for one such as I to speculate.) Here's the good part, though: After the civil war ended, an operation called "Noah's Ark" was launched to repopulate elephants, giraffes and other once-abundant wildlife back near Luanda. It was the world's largest elephant restocking program, and has been successful, especially at what is now the 3,800 square mile QuiƧama, or Kissama, National Park south of the city. It's a place where both Portuguese and Angolans love to take photos. One wonders whether it could have even briefly warmed the heart of Joseph Conrad. Sorry to get so long-winded, but it's said that you can see things in Angola (where this whole RMT story may have taken place given the nation has the final 60-70 pre-Atlantic miles of the Congo River's southern banks) that you can't see anywhere else on the continent. In this case, I think they're a fitting epilogue to this very dark and cynical RMT episode.

Kurt Wayne


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