The topic of Kariba was stumbled on as a backdrop to a novel Liz Wickins was writing. In an attempt to explain the main character’s presence in Africa, (her being an Italian), the significant Italian involvement in building the dam wall came to mind. Research to make the story authentic uncovered the story, not only of the wall and its dam, but also of Operation Noah and the mistreatment of the BaTonga. Almost immediately, the novel was shelved and the commitment to record the full tale of Kariba took hold.
Mike Wickins became involved as co-author when the book was rewritten, to share the responsibility of it becoming a factual account of events. It appears to be a story not many South Africans know. The building of Kariba Dam came at a time when apartheid was taking hold in South Africa and the Rhodesias were under strict Colonial rule. With this came a regime of strict information control, which led to a sometimes gagged press and due to so many aspects of building the dam being political in nature, the powers-that-be chose what they wanted people to know. It seems the generation who were reading newspapers at that time, know about the animal rescue and not much more. Because the news of the animals’ plight received international attention and reaction, this news got through. The story of the BaTonga people however, did not.
Whispers from the Depths – The Kariba Story released in May 2015.