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قراءة كتاب A Camera Actress in the Wilds of Togoland The adventures, observations & experiences of a cinematograph actress in West African forests whilst collecting films depicting native life and when posing as the white woman in Anglo-African cinematograph dramas

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A Camera Actress in the Wilds of Togoland
The adventures, observations & experiences of a cinematograph actress in West African forests whilst collecting films depicting native life and when posing as the white woman in Anglo-African cinematograph dramas

A Camera Actress in the Wilds of Togoland The adventures, observations & experiences of a cinematograph actress in West African forests whilst collecting films depicting native life and when posing as the white woman in Anglo-African cinematograph dramas

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
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A CAMERA ACTRESS IN THE
WILDS OF TOGOLAND


By permission of

Maj. H. Schomburgk, F.R.G.S.

Konkombwa Warrior in Full Gala Dress

The helmet is a calabash, elaborately ornamented with cowrie shells, and surmounted by a fine pair of roan antelope horns. Other less lucky warriors, or less clever hunters, content themselves with the smaller horns of the commoner puku antelope. Note the beautifully ornamented quiver filled with poisoned arrows.


A CAMERA ACTRESS
IN THE WILDS OF
TOGOLAND

THE ADVENTURES, OBSERVATIONS & EXPERIENCES OF A
CINEMATOGRAPH ACTRESS IN WEST AFRICAN FORESTS
WHILST COLLECTING FILMS DEPICTING NATIVE
LIFE AND WHEN POSING AS THE WHITE
WOMAN IN ANGLO-AFRICAN
CINEMATOGRAPH DRAMAS

BY
MISS M. GEHRTS

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY MAJOR H. SCHOMBURGK

WITH 65 ILLUSTRATIONS & A MAP

PHILADELPHIA
J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY
LONDON: SEELEY, SERVICE & CO. LTD.
1915


INTRODUCTION

By Major H. Schomburgk, F.R.G.S.

It was after my return from my first West African cinema expedition, in June 1913, that I made up my mind to try and film native dramas in their true and proper settings.

My aim was to visualise, as it were, for the European public, scenes from African native life as it once was all over the continent, and as it is even now in the more remote and seldom-visited parts; and it was further my object to so present the various incidents as to ensure their being pleasing and interesting to all classes and conditions of people.

To this end, then, it became necessary for me to find a white woman capable of acting the principal parts, supported by native supers. My thoughts at once reverted to Miss Gehrts, a lady with whom I have been acquainted for some little while, and whom I knew to be a keen sportswoman, a good rider, and possessed of histrionic ability of no mean order.

It did not take me long to persuade her to accept the offer I made her; but her parents raised many objections, based principally on the supposed dangers and privations which they assumed—not altogether wrongly—to be inseparable from the trip. These objections, however, were eventually overcome, the enterprise was undertaken and brought to a successful conclusion, and this book is one result of it.

Personally, I must confess to not being altogether favourably impressed with the ordinary African "travel book" of the typical globe-trotting woman writer: the kind of one, I mean, who either conscientiously and carefully hugs the coast, or else ventures but a little way into the hinterland along the ordinary caravan routes, and then puts upon record a long string of facts and fancies which only serve to raise a smile on the faces of those who really know their Africa, exemplifying, as they almost invariably do, that, with regard to this vast and most wonderful continent, more than perhaps anywhere else, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

Miss Gehrts' book—and I say so frankly and freely without fear or favour—is not of this sort. She quitted the beaten track altogether; so much so that north of Sokode she was absolutely the first and only white woman the natives had ever beheld. She had, therefore, the satisfaction of seeing these interesting peoples—the Tschaudjo, the Konkombwa, the Tschokossi, and many others—in their original unspoilt state of free and proud savagedom.

I am pleased to say that she appreciated the opportunities afforded her, using her powers of observation to very good purpose indeed, and with results that were not a little surprising even to old dwellers in the country. For instance, it was she who discovered the curious industry of making beads from palm nuts, described in Chapter VII, as also the unique fortified native village of which a plan and drawing, as well as a full and most interesting description, will be found in Chapter XII.

For these reasons I am inclined to dissent from the view, expressed by her in her foreword, that the book possesses no scientific value. I also disagree with most of what she has written in the opening chapter concerning myself: it is far too flattering.

On the other hand I cannot praise too highly the work done by her in connection with the expedition. I am only afraid that no reader will either appreciate or understand, from her very self-restrained narrative, what she really underwent while acting in the dramatic pieces.

Miss Gehrts also took charge of the commissariat, and I am sure that every member of the expedition will be only too pleased to certify that a better could not have been evolved than the one that was run so easily and beautifully by "our little mother," as the "boys" used to call her.

Finally, I should like to say that this book possesses the distinction of being the first published record of a journey through Togoland ever written by anybody, man or woman, black or white. It is, therefore, in a sense unique, and I wish it all the success that, in my humble opinion, it deserves. I cannot say more: nor can I say less.

HANS SCHOMBURGK.

London, July 9, 1914.


FOREWORD

In the beginning, when I first went out to West Africa, it had never entered into my head for a single instant that my experiences there might form the subject of a book. But I fell into the habit of keeping a diary of my journeyings, and afterwards many of my friends, as also other people in a position to judge, seemed to think it almost a pity that the adventures and impressions of the first white woman to travel through Togoland from the sea to the northern border and back again, should go unrecorded. It was pointed out to me, too, that the fact of my being the first cinema actress to perform in savage Africa, and with savages as "supers," would most certainly add to the interest, even if it did not enhance the value, of such a record.

In this way the present volume came into being: a creation born—to be perfectly and absolutely frank—of egoism and flattered vanity. I should like to say at the outset, however, that it does not make any pretence to add to the sum of human knowledge in a scientific sense; it is merely a plain and simple narrative of a girl's seeings and doings amongst strange and primitive folk living in a remote and little known land. Still, should there be found in it anything new of anthropological or ethnological value, it will be to me an added pleasure; for I particularly tried, to the best of my ability, to keep my eyes and ears open for the reception of such. Likewise, I shall be glad if this, my first attempt at authorship, helps to win friends for the colonial cause, and tends to dispel the altogether erroneous idea anent West Africa being,

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