Baratang's Reviews > Yellowbone

Yellowbone by Ekow Duker
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really liked it
Read 2 times. Last read March 20, 2019 to March 31, 2019.

** spoiler alert ** #Yellowbone was a sad reminder of how colonisation and apartheid had brainwashed dark skinned people so deep that the discrimination and self-hate is on auto pilot now, perpetuated by the dark skinned people themselves. Men would do unbelievable favours for light skinned women, and dark skinned ones would hate the very fibre the "yellowbones" are made of. Unfortunately this hate spree exists within families as well.

Another reminder of the ills of colonisation and apartheid were the perceptions of black people by the whites in the book (the Harrisons, Potgieters and Summerscales), which were nothing less than demeaning, condescending, insulting and informed by total ignorance. The dirty black man, black people do irrational things, witchcraft and dancing naked around fires, stealing etc utterances were harsh reminders of this reality.

Challenges pertaining to interracial and inter-cultural relationships were beautifully brought to light through Andre’s parents, where one was English and the other Afrikaans, Teacher (Ghanaian) and Precious (South African), and Karabo (Black South South African) and Nigel (White from the UK). Nonetheless one couldn’t help but wonder what they had expected from the relationships, having lived in racist and xenophobic societies. Anyway, such trials undoubtedly add amongst other things, to the nostalgia experienced by the diaspora of many countries, as seen with teacher and Karabo.

It was interesting how, despite the cultural and racial differences, parents are ill equipped to deal with children with special gifts. Can the people of European descent really say Africans are barbaric while they all seemingly see pathology where there isn’t, decide on the aetiology and execute treatment without investigating differential diagnosis and alternative management? The question is posed with special reference to Andre’s mother who was so desperate to have a normal son that she even allowed a non-specialist in the field to put him on medication for psychiatric patients, and the prison boss’ parents who beat the living daylights out of him to exorcise the demons in him.

Mental illnesses are still misunderstood in many African settings and the book has done justice by incorporating the topic in the narrative, and highlighting the plight of the affected and sufferers. It is sad though that such patients are either frowned upon or abused in many ways. Another plight that was vividly brought to light was that of prisoners, a group that society usually has no sympathy for, for their suffering is regarded as penance. The author however reminded us in the book through the stories of Jemima and Karabo’s other friends that the justice system was man made, terribly flawed, and usually did not favour the poor. The abuse of women and children is sadly an age old thing, the descriptions of which I went through very fast in the book, because of the nerve they touched. May father/reverend Majola and those like him burn in eternal hell.

The gay sexual acts were described with such detail and one couldn’t help but wonder if the author enjoyed those more than the heterosexual encounters, which I personally felt were not afforded the same detail that could sexually arouse the so called straight. I was happy for Andre’ for getting more than he bargained for from his chance encounter with the seasoned musician with the master-piece of a violin at the park though…dirty old man. Joyce the prison warder…I shall say no more.

Sexual misconduct and infidelity, and sex, will always be a source of deep rooted pain and entertainment, and demonstration of power, for the affected and bystanders, and people in authority respectively. Was teacher really a noble man considering who he married and how he won her affection? Were Precious’ reasons for cheating warranted? And Bill’s sexual shenanigans? What about the prison captain, father Majola and the municipality manager Precious worked with?

My take on the paternity test? Teacher can dream on. I will have to look at the validation report of that test first, including the type and diversity of samples used in its validation, before I can believe it outcomes.

It was a great book, I give it 4/5.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
March 20, 2019 – Started Reading
March 31, 2019 – Finished Reading
April 1, 2019 – Shelved

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