12-11-2019 by Freddie del Curatolo
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, la vita tra due mondi della contessa di Salcano", written by the Friulian journalist Anna Cecchini and published by Mgs Press, is presented on Friday 15 November in Gorizia.
It is the author herself who tells us about this extraordinary woman of the twentieth century who loved Africa and frequented the same environments as Karen Blixen and Lord Erroll.
"Lyduska Hornik de Nordis is Italian and from Gorizia - explains the journalist and writer - but she spends half of her life in Africa, in Kenya, in that earthly paradise that is the highlands on the slopes of the Aberdare. She is a woman of the twentieth century and this century lives intensely the events and contradictions.
She was born in Gorizia, in 1921, in Gorizia, which recently 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 divorces and remains alone to administer her beautiful estate in Kenya. Nothing happens by chance, one might say.
There are many intersections that bind these two women.
"Lyduska lands for the first time in Mombasa at the age of only thirteen - says her biographer - her beloved uncles, Norina de Nordis and Paolo Dolfin Boldù, acquaintances of Blixen and of the British aristocracy that frequents Kenya in the "Happy valley", have brought her here. They bought at auction the Slains estate, already owned by Josslyn Hay, XXII Count of Errol and third husband of Idina Sackville, which will become the second home of Lyduska. This first trip in 1934 is the beginning of a seventy-year love story. Lyduska will spend her entire 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 native land. He will face the revolt of the Mau Mau and the tragedy of the end of the Second World War, when his nineteenth-century villa in Gorizia is disputed between Italy and Yugoslavia. He will use all his skills to keep the property in Italy, and all his energy to resist the difficult events that preceded the proclamation of independence of Kenya in 1963. She was left alone, after losing all her family and the Slains estate one by one, moving to the green suburb of Karen the day after the nationalisation of the highland lands. She also lost her last great affection, her husband Nanni Piotto, who died prematurely in a car accident. She will be left alone, like Karen Blixen, to administer the Kenyan estate and that of Gorizia".
Although her life has been generous with her, she will spend the last part of her life alone, 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 having recently been awarded a special recognition by President Mattarella for the long years she spent teaching Italian in Kenya.
"The story of Lyduska is the story of a woman who spends her entire life of great joys and immense dramas with a bright smile printed 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 center of the scene, invariably finding her the protagonist of the historical events of her time and the alternating personal and family events. Lyduska died alone 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, in Slovenian territory. The tomb looks at the sea, while behind it runs the chain of the Julian Alps, an intense and spectacular place. Maybe it is there that he wanted to stay, high up, to look at everything with a bit of detachment, his house overlooking the Isonzo, the city and the sea, and down there, on the other side of the Mediterranean, Africa. He wanted to be like that, overlooking two worlds, as he has been doing all his life".
The volume will be premiered on Friday 15 November at 5.30 pm in the Sala della Torre of the Carigo Foundation, in Via Carducci in Gorizia.
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