This summer’s Vogue embarks on a grand tour of Africa. It offers glimpses of Nigeria and Uganda, worlds wholly different from and beyond our own.
I have had a lot to think about with this issue. Its pages have let me peek into the lives of people in places I’d never thought much about. Much like when Alice follows the White Rabbit to Wonderland, I’ve found myself both in awe of this new adventure and questioning my place within it.
The words of Mary Roblee Henry struck a lasting chord with me when she wrote “Africa, in fact, has everything - except a frame of reference.” As of fifty years ago, the African continent, with the exception of the Empire of Ethiopia, was entirely colonized by Europe. As a result, our American eyes have always seen Africa as an extension of our own desire for adventure, not a continent with its own rich point of view.
In addition to touring Nigeria and Uganda, this issue of Vogue documents the daily life of Marchesa Sieuwke Bisleti in Kenya, where she cares for many exotic animals on her farm, Marula. Western women in their 30s crave her practical elegance. She embodies the windswept beauty of a woman who has seen adventure and now lives comfortably within that frame of mind.
As romantic as this notion is, our sense of adventure may be a double-edged sword. On one hand, wearing bush jackets, Gurkha shorts, and khaki freesuits gives us a taste of discovering...