This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
When the first set of Dutch citizens led

by Jan van Riebeeck were sent to what is known today as South Africa by the Dutch East India Company, the sole objective was to farm and establish a seaport where the Company’s other fleet of ships could come and reload as they sailed to India and other parts of the world. Interestingly, when Van Riebeeck set sail for the shores of South Africa, he was told: “Avoid any contact with the indigenous population beyond of- fering them gifts and trinkets to barter for fresh meat. No other relations, no attempt to educate, convert, or subjugate. Above all, no fraternisation. Te native people are foreigners and should remain so.” Te dream of the promised land would

soon turn sour when the original inhab- itants of the land fought back. Lapierre weaves a harrowing narrative drenched in blood, from the war with the Zulus and other indigenous people to the Anglo- Boer War. Fast-forward to 1938, the year the ar-

chitects of apartheid started devising their plans. Led by Daniel François Malan and Hendrik Verwoerd, things would never be the same. In Malan’s words: “Until the laws regu-

lating the coexistence of whites and blacks in this country are part of a legislative arsenal formally inscribed in the constitution of a South African State, this racial pollution will only get worse. With consequences I will leave to your imagination…” By 1946, almost 300 years after the

Dutch settlers arrived, ordinary South Africans had embarked on a fight that would cost lives and see their freedom taken away. It was the fight to free themselves that

would see many black South Africans, such as Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and many others, spend years in prison as a new generation of South Africans bat- tled the startling reality of their restricted lives. By the 1970s, Prime Minister John

Vorster and his government had suc- cessfully ensured that over 20% of South Africa’s six- million-strong black popula- tion were living in cramped ghettos under the ethnic redistribution agenda. Lapierre’s story is one of pain and hope,

told with great sensitivity, though he could be accused of bias towards the ANC. Nev- ertheless, his book is an absorbing read. It shows triumph over adversity and manages

to question the reality of the Rainbow Nation promised after the historic 1994 elections, as he highlights the new chal- lenges of today. It is a must-read for anyone passionate

about African history and the many cycles its nations have grown through in order to define themselves.

I Do Not Come To You By Chance By: Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani Published: Phoenix ISBN: 978-075382-6973


y now, the world is well versed in the email and 419 scams which originate from Nigeria, asking the intended victim or (mugu) dumb

person who falls for them to help with clearing funds from a foreign account. Te emails are so emotionally touch-

ing that the victims have compassion on a stranger asking for help, or is it the prom- ise of sharing the pot of gold that is very alluring for those who fall for the scam? Tese are just some of the many ques-

tions you ask yourself as you read Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani’s captivating and criti- cally acclaimed debut novel, I Do Not Come To You By Chance. It is the story of Kingsley, who upon

graduating from university, joins the thou- sands of unemployed graduates looking for that elusive job in a nation where jobs are hard to come by. As the first son of the family, Kingsley

understands his responsibilities and he desires to fulfil them were it not for the hard times that have fallen on the nation. Te death of his father does not help mat- ters either. When help comes knocking in the form of his uncle, Boniface, aka Cash Daddy, there is a price tag attached. He never thought he would have to pay for it, and so his journey into a seedy world begins. What is outstanding about Nwauba-

ni’s offering is that she captures the “now moment” of contemporary Nigerian life, delivered with nuances and humour per- tinent to the country, and its social and cultural life as she explores the reality of

trying to survive in the Land of Topsy- Turvy. Yet, she maintains a universal ap- peal with her narrative. Her book is an accomplished debut, worthy of the acco- lades and praises it has already received.

A Fine Madness By: Mashingaidze Gomo Published: Ayebia Press, UK ISBN: 978-095624-0149


art prose, part poetry, A Fine Madness is a befitting title to this evocative offering about war from Mashingaidze Gomo. With a

foreword written by Ngugi wa Tiong’o, which sets the scene for what is to come, the narrative tells the story of war in the Congo as narrated by a soldier who lived through it. Gomo, a former Zimbabwean Air Force

pilot, has served in some of Africa’s most devastating wars, including the one in the Congo. His experiences have served him well

because he succeeds in painting a visual tapestry of the heinous images that come with war. Trough the words of an observ- ant soldier we experience the loneliness, horror, and harrowing nature of war. It is clear that experiencing war and

writing about it gave the author an insight into why Africans must tell their own stories. His rage is uncontained about the continuous interference of foreign powers in African affairs in the chapter, “Te Rape”: “And the rapist were providing huge sums

of money as pre-natal aid to nurture the unwanted pregnancy to a healthy delivery of their bastard offspring that would inherit Africa and hand it back to them.” A Fine Madness is a poignant reminder

of the devastating effects of war on the mind and the destruction it leaves in its path, and Gomo reminds us most impor- tantly of the human cost. Tis is a deep excavation of Africa’s

wars and how they have in turn turned her children into beggars. A Fine Madness is Gomo’s song for Africa and Africans.

New African March 2011 | 79

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