Wednesday, May 14, 2014

We Need New Names

We Need New NamesBy: NoViolet Bulawayo
Location: FIC BUL
Genre: My Fav- African Lit
Shortlisted: The Man Booker prize 2013

Some of you know that I have hung out in Africa. I have walked the dusty paths of forgotten villages. I have tasted the fruits from the trees and heard the voices sing the days out. I have watched as children work hard to collect, gather, cook and wash, I have been in schools where 80 children sit in a corrugated shack as a stick wields its ugly authority. YET- when I was talking to my  Yr. 12s "after school buddies" today and we posed the question- what country would you go to if you had to leave NZ- I said "A village in Africa".
Why?- No running water, no wifi, no amazing food, no aircon! I will tell you why- it has community, it has song, it has a basic living that declutters and frees you - somehow you feel more alive and more connected.
In this story in a shanty in Zimbabwe lives a ten year old called Darling. She lived a tough life, a village life, she stole guavas, sing Lady Gaga, watching the pitful HIV/AIDS destroy- and then her dream comes true- she gets sent to live in America.
“Because we were not in our country, we could not use our own languages, and so when we spoke our voices came out bruised, When we talked, our tongues thrashed madly in our mouths, staggered like drunken men.”
"...leaving your country is like dying, and when you come back you are like a lost ghost returning to earth, roaming around with a missing gaze in your eyes."
"And when we got to America we took our dreams, looked at them tenderly as if they were newly born children, and put them away; we would not be pursuing them."  

Yep this is a stunner, it is written so wonderfully, the prose is crafted and the story- well I think I need to take it to Africa with me and give to those that dream, that hold the west up as some utopia. It will change their minds and that would be a good thing.


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