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Lyduska, the Gorizia countess who married Kenya

A BOOK TELLS THE STORY OF A ROMANTIC AND TENACIOUS ITALIAN WOMAN

24-03-2021 di redazione

A biographical book recounts the adventurous life between Kenya and Italy of Lyduska de Nordis, who died in Nairobi in 2006 at the age of 85.
"Lyduska, the life between two worlds of the Countess of Salcano", written by the Friulian journalist Anna Cecchini and published by Mgs Press.
The author herself tells the story of this extraordinary woman of the 20th century, the daughter of a noblewoman from Gorizia and a Bohemian officer, who loved Africa and frequented the same circles as Karen Blixen and Lord Erroll and was a friend of Sarah Churchill, daughter of the British statesman.
Lyduska Hornik de Nordis is Italian and from Gorizia," explains the journalist and writer, "but she spent half her life in Africa, in Kenya, in that earthly paradise that is the highlands on the slopes of Aberdare. She is a woman of the twentieth century and lives intensely the events and contradictions of this century. She was born in Gorizia in 1921, in the Gorizia that had just returned to Italy after the defeat of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918.
It was the year of the 'great crisis', the year in which Albert Einstein won the Nobel Prize for physics'.
In the same year Karen Blixen divorced and was left alone to manage her splendid estate in Kenya. One might say that nothing happens by chance.
There are many intersections that link these two women, such as the numerous returns to their homeland without being able to leave their beloved Dark Continent and the tragic fate of their men.
Lyduska arrived in Mombasa for the first time when she was only thirteen years old," says her biographer. "She was brought there by her beloved aunt and uncle, Norina de Nordis and Paolo Dolfin Boldù, acquaintances of Blixen and the British aristocracy who frequented the Kenya of the "Happy Valley". They bought at auction the Slains estate, formerly owned by Josslyn Hay, XXII Earl of Errol and third husband of Idina Sackville, which was to become Lyduska's second home. This first trip in 1934 is the beginning of a seventy-year-long love affair. Lyduska will spend the rest of her long life divided between Gorizia and Kenya, immersed in the grandiose nature of the African highlands and protagonist of the historical and political events of her homeland.  He will face the Mau Mau revolt and the tragedy of the end of the Second World War, when his nineteenth-century villa in Gorizia is disputed between Italy and Yugoslavia. She will use all her skills to keep the property in Italy, and all her energy to resist the difficult events leading up to Kenya's proclamation of independence in 1963. She will remain alone, having lost one by one all her family members and the Slains estate, moving to the green suburb of Karen in the aftermath of the nationalisation of the highland lands. She also lost her last great love, her husband Nanni Piotto, who died prematurely in a car accident. She remained alone, like Karen Blixen, to administer the Kenyan and Gorizia estates'.
Although life was generous with her, she spent the last part of her life in solitude, with the consolation of a few, chosen friendships, such as that of her compatriot Giuliana Mollea Moretti, who like her chose Kenya as her second homeland and who still lives in Nairobi, after being awarded a special recognition by President Mattarella for the long years she spent teaching Italian in Kenya.
Lyduska's story is the story of a woman who goes through a whole life of great joys and immense dramas with a bright smile on her face," confirms Anna Cecchini, who has conducted meticulous research on the protagonist of her novel. "Her story is a long journey through time and space, which always takes place at the centre of the scene, finding her invariably the protagonist of the historical events of her time and the ups and downs of personal and family life. Lyduska died in solitude at her home in Karen in 2006. By her express wish, her ashes will be buried next to her maternal grandfather, Antonio de Nordis, in a tiny cemetery behind Gorizia, on Slovenian territory. The tomb overlooks the sea, while behind it runs the chain of the Julian Alps, an intense and spectacular place. Perhaps that is where he wanted to be, high up, to look at everything with a bit of detachment, at his house overlooking the Isonzo, at the city and the sea, and over there, on the other side of the Mediterranean, at Africa. She wanted to stay like this, looking out over two worlds, as she did throughout her long life".

 

TAGS: libri kenyaitaliani in kenyalyduska de nordis

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