|The red dusty road|
My father’s brother had married a South African and my mother’s brother had left England to farm in Rhodesia, as it was then. The family weren’t desperately polite about the peoples and my farming uncle wasn’t terribly successful – it wasn’t the right area, and probably luck was against him – ultimately it was – he was killed on his farm.
|Sugar Bird on Protea|
And in those days I didn’t ask or delve ... when the time came I went to see some friends in Zimbabwe and a newly married girlfriend in Johannesburg, as well as the two ‘relative’ families.
Oh yes – in my late teens I’d met a South African lady at a course we were both on in London and I was bemused (shocked) when she said she had clean sheets every day (servants to me were ‘unknown’)... so when I went out it was with eyes wide open, with a brain completely devoid of anything helpful!
We, as a family, weren’t terribly social and my airs and graces were pretty simple ... I was easily overawed – getting to southern Africa was like hitting a time-warp ... there were the old colonial ways, the new modern influences, the stick-in-the muds, the mix of nationalities and all that brings ... the racist slurs (which I didn’t understand properly – more importantly couldn’t) and the new continent with its red earth.
I’ve added in this background as Judy’s book “Dancing in the Shadows of Love” took me right back to those early days ... including the albino character. My mother-in-law’s maid, who needed extra work, came to work for me – not a comfortable situation ... but if I didn’t employ her, there would be less money going back into the family in the township. To top it off ... Mary had a daughter, who was an Albino – so I certainly felt for them.
When I started reading Judy’s book I had extraordinary reminiscences of those days ... my complete inability in working out what was going on around me – oh yes I fitted in ... but so much was so different to any experience I’d had, yet it was old England. I was artless – it’s a feeling I still conjure up today.
Judy had sent me a copy of her book through Smashwords, and not owning an eReader, I had my first experience of reading a book on my computer – this I found very easy on the eye. I was completely swept up into the euphoria of the sights and smells of Africa, the beautiful, yet harsh landscape ... the land that one does not forget.
|Cabriole leg – |
So first things first – Judy on 20 June posts about “Reading eBooks without an eReader” – that solves the ‘I haven’t got an eReader’ problem ... though her book is now available in print.
I love the cover of “Dancing in the Shadows of Love” by Martin Wenkidu; this painting by Martin, who is a deeply spiritual man, is entitled “Man and the World of Stars” – the story and influence so aptly applied here – are fully explained through an edited transcript – which Judy posted on 7 April.
Before I get to the review itself ... on 25 May ... Judy posts “A Muse of Fire: theinspiration behind Dancing in the Shadows of Love” ... where she sets out how and why her book came about.
Last and by no means least – here’s an example of a book that’s been set out to give us an understanding of Africa its myths and symbolisms, the poverty, the racial divide, colonialism, the modernising of the relics of the old ways, yet why the core of each culture is so important to the continuance of life and belief in such life.
It’s a fascinating expose of southern Africa, while drawing on a strong knowledge base of the English language, bringing in Jewish aspects, the indigenous norms, some dialects – the feel of this melting pot that is Africa.
|A quiver tree|
There are some reviews out there of this wonderfully powerful book ... and so my review takes a slightly different approach – you have my own backdrop to my initiation into Africa - the timeframe of the vestiges of colonial life from the early 1900s to recent times – so many changes, yet Africa remains to draw us into its red dirt, to catch us with its thorns, to woo us with its charms, to teach us to look at the earth and life together – to learn from the wisdom of the indigenous people, who will permeate their thoughts into our souls for the continuance of good.
I have posted some photos around the text – to bring to life some words that can be helped with a visual jogger for those who don’t know Africa. This is a book that you will enjoy, you will learn so much from, a text that will draw you back ... Judy is giving us additional background information in recent posts ... for example: “Shakespeare in the Shadows” of 29 August.
She has given us more than just a book ... more than just a novel – it will open your mind to so many things. It is a book to be read twice, or thrice ... to refer back to the glossary, to mull over ... as her preface quote by Sri Sathya Sai Baba (Mystic, 1926 – 2011) says:
“There is only one language, the language of the Heart.
There is only one religion, the religion of Love.”
I highly recommend this book and encourage you all to read it ... Another of Judy's posts: Can you sever Love from Charity?
The photos I have used don’t refer to this post – but will be found in the book, which I hope will help you visualise the descriptive passages.
Dear Mr Postman – my mother would be amused to know that I’ve written my first book review, bringing in my memories of my early days in southern Africa. This is now being posted on her 91st birthday ...
... she was awake and all three of us managed to visit – one of my brothers opened the cards and shared the news with her ... and then I went through them again later on. She cannot eat or drink ... so information, cards and flowers are the things that give her pleasure – and most importantly the companionship.
Congratulations to the winners of Judy's book - following on the interview with her that I posted on 29 September:
Patricia of Patricia's Wisdom
Theresa Milstein - Theresa's Tales of Teaching Tribulations and Typing Teen Texts
Karen Jones Gowen - Coming Down the Mountain
Rubye Jack - Blue Skies Sunny Days
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories