Juliet Wilson's Reviews > Mukiwa: A White Boy in Africa

Mukiwa by Peter Godwin
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Jun 15, 09

bookshelves: biography
Read in May, 2005

This is a memoir of the author's childhood, adolescence and parts of his adulthood spent in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). I visited Zimbabwe twice between 1990 and 1992 when I lived in Malawi (including a number of the places featuring here) and although I knew some of what happened there in the 1960s - 1980s, I was interested to find out more. This is a stunning book, heartbreakingly sad in its cataloguing of wartime atrocities and life in a country torn apart, but sometimes also very funny (especially in the early chapters). It also evokes much of the cultural detail that hadn't changed from say early 1960s to early 1990s, so for me in a strange way parts of it were quite nostalgic. Godwin manages to combine the objective eye of the journalist he is by profession with the passion of someone who has lived through terrible times, giving the book a double power. I'd definitely recommend it as a way of learning about relatively recent southern African history (it also touches on South Africa, Mozambique and very briefly on Malawi) and the moral dilemmas faced by left leaning white Rhodesians.
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