took me straight back to my "old" life…yes I was there too and the descriptions, the smells, the fears, the joys…were all there. Wasnt too sure about the shooting of Ian Smith…! But thoroughly enjoyed the book and just sad, because it wasn't fiction, this is what happened and the country has been destroyed …not because of the colonialists but because of the rulers after them.
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Don't let's go to Zimbabwe tonight20 novembre 2006
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'Mukiwa' opens with a six year old boy describing what he sees of a local murder. So begins this enthralling memoir. This saga of a youth growing up in troubled Zimbabwe (Rhodesia at that time), is divided into three parts.
Book I, which comprises half of the book, is seen through the eyes of a child and told in that voice. As such it is reminiscent of 'Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight' by Alexandra Fuller. Both authors grew up in the eastern highlands of Rhodesia, near Umtali and the Mozambique border. One is a boy's story, the other a girl's and the differences are largely stylistic. They were separated by about ten years and 'Dogs' focuses only on one family, with the bush war only in the background, whereas 'Mukiwa' gives a broader picture of life in the remote, often dangerous, areas of the country. A preschool boy accompanies his mother, a doctor, to various bush clinics where she is both GP and pathologist. Before long he can recognize not only dead bodies, but also malaria, TB, leprosy and other ailments. In this lonely place he forms close relationships with the various African staff and describes the harshness of their life there as well as the miseries of boarding school for a young child.
In Book II, the author's hopes dashed that he cannot leave the country to attend university because of the compulsory conscription policy, finds himself in the midst of a brutal guerrilla war. His job is made harder by his ambivalent feelings as he frequently sympathizes with the `terrorists'. He leaves finally only when defeat is conceded.
In Book III he returns to the country, now with a law degree from Cambridge. Joining a distinguished firm in the capital, he is put to work defending prominent, former `freedom fighters' of the Matabele tribe. The new Mugabe government, dominated by the Shona tribe, ignores the fact that the Matabele had fought alongside them to win the war and are now moving against them, re-establishing the age-old hatred and rivalry between the two groups. With a bitter-sweet outcome of the trial, the author decides to become a journalist with a London newspaper. In this capacity he is urged to investigate reports of genocide and acts of brutality in Matabeleland, again perpetrated by government forces. His reports are largely ignored by both the Zimbabwe government and the international community.
Published in 1996, the book naturally does not cover the more recent atrocities metered out by Robert Mugabe. It is disappointing that very few dates are given, so that the whole story sort of floats in an indistinct time. However, it is ever-absorbing, sometimes shocking and by the last part, a totally gripping tale. I even thought it would make a very good movie.
27 internautes sur 27 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
A Patriot's Lamentful Memoir26 février 2002
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Even though Mr. Godwin is the consumate ex-pat, he will never be anything but a Mukiwa/Zimbabwean in his heart. In an age of pervasive political correctness (pc), it it so very refreshing to read a book that speaks from the head and heart with equal patronage, distilling all the pc off the top, and assigning it to the literary land fill where it belongs. Mr. Godwin is right on point with regard to the Mugabe pc, as evidenced by the tactics that Mugabe and his hencemen are employing as I write this, in the current 2002 election campaign. Fraud is fraud, black or white, and Mr. Godwin illustrates this point so well. Further, he exposes the good and bad of european rule, examines the concept of duty, and handles the affairs of his family with honor and love. This book is for all people, all races, all time. And in the ultimate salute, Mr. Godwin is kind of person who I would love to share a pint with, and have a good chat up. Well done Sir.
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A true classic - essential reading11 mai 1998
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This outstanding book will conjure up vivid memories of both people and places for anyone who has ever been to Zimbabwe. As with any great piece of writing (and there is no doubt that this is one) it also peeled back the surface of the country and showed things that were not readily visible, even though they were only just beneath the skin. One of the books many strengths is that it works on so many levels; as a story of Africa, of childhood, of colonialism and the end of Empire, as a war memoir and a study of inhumanity. The threads of each aspect wind around each other to produce a story as colourful, complex and mysterious as Africa itself. The tales of Peter Godwin's childhood are by turns funny, poignant and suffused with the warmth of Africa and its people. By contrast, the description of the "war years" matches the very best writings on Viet Nam (David Donovan's execllent "Once a Warrior King" is an interesting counter-point from that war)and, without sensationalism or dramatisation, fully conveys the banality and brutality of "bush fire wars". The final, post-war, section is deeply moving and provides a gruelling illustration of ethnic conflict. Although this is an important book with a powerful message, the author tells his story with a lightness of touch that never allows language to obstruct the narrative. I have not had the slighest hesitation in recommending "Mukiwa" to anyone, whether or not they are interested in Africa. There is much here to satisfy any reader but this outstanding book should be required reading for anyone who has ever been to Zimbabwe or ever plans to go there.
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Godwin Rocks!8 février 2001
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Wow! As a reader from Zimbabwe myself, I found Mukiwa one of the most familiar books I've ever read. In the space of 40 years, much has changed in my beloved country, yet much has not. St. Georges is a very old school which still stands today. When in gameparks and even in rural parts of the country, one often has to face the dangers listed by Godwin, from Bilharzia to crocodiles. I have always wanted a book to give to my foreign friends and relatives, relating a true impression of Africa, and I'd recommend this book in a heartbeat. It gives such vivid impressions of life in Africa, I can hardly do them justice - you'll just have to read the book yourself. The only problem with the book is that it portrays much of the country as "mud-hut" territory, which it is not. The cities of Zimbabwe remain fairly up-to-date, with the ability of experiencing the wild side of the former Rhodesia. I don't recall if the book mentions it, but Peter Godwin's younger sister, Georgina, is a popular radio dj! Many facts such as this are so vividly familiar to my mind, that this book spelled out a great panoramic view of my country, and to anyone vaguely interested in Zimbabwe (formerly known as Southern Rhodesia), I strongly recommend this book - the parallels are amazingly accurate.
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Godwin's Memoir a Classic21 juillet 1999
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Mukiwa is one of the most compelling books I've come across in recent memory and should be considered requisite for anyone interested in the history, current affairs and future of Zimbabwe/Rhodesia and Southern Africa. Godwin is an incredibly gifted writer who paints a series of remarkably vivid canvases in this memoir of his life in Africa. In searching the net for reading material prior to a recent trip to Zimbabwe and South Africa I came across the title, but although I did have the opportunity to read Graham Boynton's, Last Days of Cloud Cuckooland, I didn't get around to locating a copy of Mukiwa. This proved fortunate for me however, as I found a paperback copy Godwin's book on a dusty, stationer's shop shelf in Chiredzi, a small town not far from many of the places described in the author's recounting of his early youth in Zimbabwe's Chimanimni Mountains. I could not have begun the book at a better time during my holiday. One day, on returning from a morning's excursion to the Birchenough Bridge with friends, I sat down with the book after lunch and was delighted to find myself reading the author's description of trips to the same area as a young boy on holiday with his family. Tears pricked my eyes as I read the familiar description of Africans, wearing threadbare clothing and brilliantly hopeful smiles , stepping up to the side of the road attempting to entice potential customer in passing vehicles that never seemed to stop. They're still trying to sell the pods of cream of tartat fruit and it broke my heart to remember their faces. Many times during my reading of the book, I put it down for a moment or longer, feeling so moved by the power of Godwin's narrative. Mukiwa is so well written that I could have easily finished it in a day, but I didn't want it to end and frequently read and reread sentences, paragraphs or whole sections not wanting to miss a word, a phrase or a nuance. I've always been considered a voracious reader, but have become impatient with literature over the past several years and had thought that it was, perhaps, due to an intollerance or inattentiveness that came with age or too many lost brain cells. I'm grateful to Mr. Godwin for dissproving that notion to me. Obviously, it's just been too long since I read something that was the equal of the classics of my youth---unfortunately anyone with access to a word processor can write a book today and often does. Mukiwa was my constant companion during the last few weeks of my trip, as I read some whenever I had the chance, never allowing myself to be rushed though---I wanted to savour each page. I finally finished it, with appropriate regret, on the homeward leg of my trip from Capetown to Miami. Everywhere I went people, strangers and aquaintances, who saw what I was reading had comments or questions about the book. Strangers in the aisle, queing to leave a plane would gesture toward it and say, "That's a wonderful book." People I met would ask me where I was in the story or what I thought of it. Mukiwa is so well crafted that it seems to strike a chord with everyone who reads it, especially those who've grown up in our spent time in southern Africa. One delightful professional guide, hunter/naturalist whom I had the occasion to see every day for over a week enquired regularly as to my progress with the book. Finally, one day we were discussing the book and I was asking him questions about his own childhood in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe and what similarities their childhood shared and and he said, " I met him you know, Peter Godwin." I was immediately entranced and wanted to know, of course, what he was like and, most importantly, I asked, "Was he what he seemed to be in the book?" To which my friend replied, emphatically and enthusiasticly, "Exactly." Reportedly he was funny and nice and had all sorts of wonderful stories and my friend's face was wreathed in smiles as he described the meeting at a nearby community where the author was attending a family wedding. I smiled just as delightedly as I listened, enthralled and just a little envious. Peter Godwin is someone I'd like to meet too. I'm searching for a copy of his other book and have already purchased a second copy of Mukiwa---I want one copy for myself just in case mine doesn't come back to me.