im looking for a biography of a womans life in south africa
Thanks for your question! I haven't been able to account for the exact scene you remember with the lion, so this will be a broad survey of biographies from South Africa and late colonial Africa. These titles reflect a tacit assumption that the woman is white and from at least a middle-class family; if those parameters were incorrect I'll offer a few other titles.
A very well-known title is Erik Dinesen's [pseud. Karen Blixen] autobiographical Out of Africa. The narrator enters the story a bit older than I'd expect, but otherwise there's a lot of potential.
Alexandra Fuller got a fair amount of attention over the last five-ten years for Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight and Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness, making them likely targets for 'girlhood in Africa' memoirs.
Mary Benson was a prominent figure during the political transition out of the apartheid era, but her privileged early life and nationalistic pride in South Africa make me think her biography "Far Cry: the making of a South African" might have potential.
Other possibilities include Olive Schreiner's "Story of an African Farm", Robyn Scott's "Twenty Chickens for a Saddle", and particularly relevant for the number of lions Kobie Kruger's "Wilderness Family."
Did any of those ring a bell? If they missed, which ones seemed closest to what you recall? Any other details from the biography come to mind?
Feel free to email back and we'll keep hunting. Thanks again for your question!