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Nkima Speaks
Burleson's Jung in Africa is a comprehensive historical account of C. G. Jung's 1925 'Psychological Expedition' to East Africa. Conducted when Jung was fifty years old, the safari was a watershed which divided his life and thought perfectly into two halves. Africa gifted Jung with his 'myth,' his raison d'etre. Many of his important psychological concepts were discovered or crystallized during the five-month journey. Indeed, there is an African imprint upon almost all of Jung's most basic theories. In addition to contributing to an understanding of Jung and Jungian psychology, the book adds to our knowledge of European involvement on the African continent during the colonial period. Further, the book explores Jung's trip as an archetypal journey representative of 'modern man's' search for meaning in 'primitive' places. Africa was the quintessential Nether Lands where pueri aeterni of Europe and America were tempted to forsake modernity and 'go primitive.'

Carl Jung and Erich von Harben

David A. Adams


There is an interesting book which happens to be remaindered at a reasonable price in 2006 (check your local bookstore) called JUNG IN AFRICA by Blake W. Burleson, published by Continuum, 2005. It is a detailed account of C.G. Jung's 1925-26 "psychological expedition" to East Africa. Jung basically traveled from Mombasa across Kenya (Tarzan's country) to the source of the Nile at Lake Victoria. He spent some weeks on the border of Uganda with the Elgonyi and the Bugishu peoples. From there it was up the Nile and home.

I would highly recommend this book to any serious Tarzan fan because it gives a very good picture of what a land safari was like in 1925. By then rail, truck, and air travel was employed as much as possible except in the impassible bush areas. In fact, it is stated that Jung's safari was perhaps the last large walking safari in this portion of Africa.

While reading, I was of course always on the lookout for traces of Tarzan or Erich von Harben and finally found the later in chapter seven at about the right place at the right time. Jung's party had finished their explorations and interviews with the natives at Mount Elgon and had traveled from Mbale to Jinja on the northern shores of Lake Victoria in two Ford trucks. Next, they went by train (it came through every two weeks) to Lake Kioga. A paddle-wheel steamer took them to Masindi Port. From here to Nimmule, just across the Sudanese border.

Here is where it gets interesting.

Jung planned to walk a 100 miles across the flat, arid plain through Mongalla Province of the Sudan to Rejaf. It was foolhardy to say the least. The party was a typical Burroughsian one: two professors of psychology, the rich young man, and the young girl traveling with porters and some askari. After only three days they were out of water and were in very serious trouble. They had only gone about 40 miles and were totally exhausted by the heat.

Suddenly, "a rough motor truck" comes from the south. The driver has come from Rejaf to retrieve a German scientist who was on safari in the area. Jung convinces the driver that he is the scientist the driver was to retrieve! They pile everything on the lorry, dismiss their porters to the whims of the desert, and finally got to town. The author comments that "What happened to the abandoned German scientist is unknown."

Well, I thought it was pretty coincidental to the von Harben story. ERB called the bugishu natives the bangego. The area of the lower Sudan before one enters the sud seemed to be a likely place for the von Harben explorations into the mountains of either Ethiopia or Uganda, likely locations of the Lost Empire.

June 24, 2006