In March of 1956, after an absence of nearly seven years, Doris Lessing returned to Southern Rhodesia where she grew up.
She wanted to go home so as to keep in contact with the scenes and people which have been the material for much of her work; and because, since she left, Southern Rhodesia has become part of a much larger entity, the Federation of Central Africa. Political controversy about this part of the world is strenuous; it is very much in the melting pot; and anyone at all interested in African politics knows that the next two or three years will decided whether British Central Africa will go the way of Kenya, or the Union of South Africa, into racial conflict, or forge itself into something new in Africa - a genuinely harmonious multi-racial society.
Brought up in a country where everyone talks politics all the time, Doris Lessing is naturally politically-minded, with strong views about the colour bar and 'white supremacy'. Going home, she turned herself into a journalist, partly because a journalist has greater opportunities than ordinary tourists for seeing what goes on; and partly because she had never been a journalist, and wanted to see what it was like.
Going Home is a journal without dates; a journal describing a seven-week's trip round one of the storm-centres of Africa. It was not, to say the least, a peaceful journey, since the author was escorted to the plane by Mr. Strydom's political police in South Africa, a country she was not permitted to enter; and closely attended by the C.I.D. of the Federation wherever she went.
This book is not, however, pure reportage, nor even a travel book. Although a clear picture of Central African politics and public figures emerges from it, Going Home is more of a personal document than the usual journalist's report, for woven into it are reminiscences, anecdotes and incidents, both grim and funny.