I’m in LOVE with zebras.

It was love at first sight. When Uwe and I were in southern Africa I sent my sisters ‘Zebra of the Day’ snapshots.

We saw hundreds of them in herds, and  by the time our trip was over we’d spotted thousands.

We saw zebras in national parks in Namibia and Botswana. I was in ecstasy every day we were forced to stop to let them cross the roads.

We spotted them in the Okavango Delta from above in a helicopter.

Bathroom breaks were a gas station if we passed one. Most of the time it was just pulling over to the side of a remote road…. I took a memorable pee not 5 meters away from 60 zebras. They watched warily from behind the brush, but didn’t move away. I could hear them whickering to one another about me.

Funnily enough, (cue eerie music here), last autumn I’d decided that my next book is going to feature zebras. It’s still in the planning and thinking-about stages so I won’t say anymore than that. But to start the creative process I bought a zebra magnet at the British Library in London. I’m looking at it as I write this post: it’s attached to a stereo speaker.

I have a key chain I bought at a gas station in Namibia from the artist who was going from car to car. He carves them from soapstone and I kept turning him down until I saw the one that featured 3 zebras.

Botswana basket to the far right is Ribs of the Zebra pattern

I also brought home a basket with the traditional ribs of the zebra pattern in Maun, Botswana. *

Zebras are sociable, and intelligent, and cannot be tamed. Each zebra’s stripes are as distinctly unique as finger prints.

ZZZZZZZEBRAS!!! I shouted with glee each time we saw one.

NOTES: * In a future post I have more to say about the fine art of basket weaving in southern Africa! ©2024 Jadi Campbell. Photos ©2023 Uwe Hartmann. Uwe’s photos of our trips and his photography may be viewed at viewpics.de.

My books are Broken In: A Novel in Stories, Tsunami Cowboys,  Grounded and The Trail Back Out.

Tsunami Cowboys was longlisted for the 2019 ScreenCraft Cinematic Book Award. Broken In: A Novel in Stories was semifinalist for the international 2020 Hawk Mountain Short Story Collection Award from Hidden River Arts and Finalist for Greece’s 2021 Eyelands Book of the Year Award (Short Stories).

The Trail Back Out was the 2023 San Francisco Book Festival Winner for General Fiction, American Book Fest 2020 Best Book Award Finalist: Fiction Anthologies, Runner-Up for the 2021 Top Shelf Award, 2021 IAN Book of the Year Award Short Story Collection Finalist, and awarded a 2021 Wishing Shelf Red Ribbon. The title story The Trail Back Out was longlisted for the 2021 ScreenCraft Cinematic Short Story Award.

Click here for my author page to learn more about me and purchase my books.

9 thoughts on “ZZZZZZZEBRAS!”

  1. My strongest memory of zebra comes from a day spent inside the crater at Ngorongoro in the north of Tanzania, back in the spring of 1984. We stopped for a picnic lunch in an area close to a mixed herd of Blue Wildebeest and Zebra. Just after noon, a number of zebra stallions, with all the coordination of a murmuration of starlings, raised their heads from the grass and, standing stock still, gave a display of what I can only call reproductive excitement that went on for what seemed like ages but was probably little more than a minute. Then, just as suddenly, they stopped and continued feeding. As soon as I registered that it had started, I ran to our Land Rover to grab my camera, but by the time I got back, it was all but finished (so no photographic evidence, sadly).

  2. I have some distinct memories of bathroom breaks when driving through Zambia. My one wish in all the world was for other humans to take the time to keep the bathroom plumbing maintained and for users of the facilities to understand the value of hygiene.

    1. We didn’t get to Zambia on this trip but the gas station bathrooms in Namibia and Botswana were all very clean and well-maintained. In such a remote area, there just weren’t a lot of them.

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