Joan Crawford in Africa

In 1957, the film star Joan Crawford toured the continent of Africa with her husband, Alfred Steele, the CEO of the Pepsi-Cola Company. She recalled their trip in her masterpiece My Way of Life. ‘Africa was,’ she wrote, ‘My baptism in Pepsi, and I have a great affection for that continent.’

“I remember, on that first trip, we arrived in Portuguese East Africa at seven in the morning. As we were approaching for a landing I said, ‘I can’t put on any makeup, Alfred. It’s just too hot. And nobody’s going to be there anyway. They don’t know me here.’

As we taxied in I saw in amazement that there were twenty thousand people in that little airport. ‘Who’s on board?’ I asked. ‘Who are they waiting for?’

He grinned. ‘You, darling!’


 …During the African tour we spent a night at Treetops, that famous hotel built high in the trees in the middle of a game preserve where Elizabeth II was staying when she learned that she had become Queen of England. Way out there in the wilderness, it’s one of the most luxurious places in the world. The food can compete with that of ’21’ in New York.’
Joan Crawford, My Way of Life, Simon and Schuster, 1971.