Nadine Gordimer’s short story ‘‘The Ultimate Safari,’’ first published in Great Britain’s literary publication Granta in 1989, and later included in her 1991 collection, Jump and Other Stories, follows the story of an unnamed narrator and her family as they leave their Mozambique village for a refugee camp across the border in South Africa. In an unrecorded talk she gave at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg in 1991, Gordimer attributed the inspiration for the story to a visit she made to a camp for Mozambique refugees. The socalled ‘‘bandits’’ alluded to by the story’s main character and narrator are, presumably, members of Renamo, the Mozambique rebel group that tried for years, with the clandestine support of South Africa, to overthrow Mozambique’s Marxist government. By the time the events of this story take place, liberation movements in countries across Africa had long since swept whites from power, with South Africa being the single exception. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, in an attempt to protect itself and its white power structure, the South African government supported the destabilization efforts of rebels in its black-controlled, neighboring countries by financing armed incursions and raids, such as the ones that the narrator describes in the story.
‘‘The Ultimate Safari,’’ like nearly all of Gordimer’s work, addresses the effects South Africa’s system of apartheid had on its people and its neighbors. Published in book form the year she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, the story continues Gordimer’s long-standing efforts to gauge the effects of apartheid by delving into the minds of characters of all races and genders; in this case, Gordimer takes on the persona and adopts the voice of a young black Mozambique girl to narrate the family’s arduous trek through Kruger Park and to the refugee camp.