Sunday 12 February 2012

43. Far From Home by Na'ima B Robert

Far From Home by Na'ima B Robert
Published January 2012 Frances Lincoln

From the publisher:

14-year old Tariro loves her ancestral home, the baobab tree she was born under, her loving family - and brave, handsome Nhamo. She couldn't be happier. But then the white settlers arrive and everything changes - suddenly violently, and tragically. Twenty-five years later, 14-year old Katie loves her doting father, her exclusive boarding school and her farm with its baobab tree in rural Zimbabwe. Life is great. Until disaster strikes and the family are forced to leave everything and escape to cold, rainy London.

I must admit that my knowledge of African history is pretty limited, so I found this an extremely interesting book.  It would be an interesting book to use when looking at white settlement in Australia.

The book begins in Rhodesia in 1964. Tariro is 14 years old, happy with her life and has plans to marry the handsome Nhamo. This all turns upside down with the introduction of the Native Land Husbandry Act, which will take the land away from African families and send them away to live on Native Reserves.  When Nhamo attacks Deputy Commissioner Watson in response to Watson slapping Tariro, he is set upon by Watson's men and is beaten to a pulp and is left blind as a result.  No longer a good candidate as a husband, he and Tariro will not be married, and he must no longer be part of her life.   When life seems like it can't possible get any does.  Tariro is raped by Watson and  becomes pregnant with his child.  We follow the life of the young mother and her mixed race daughter until 1975 when Tariro makes a decision that means she will leave her daughter behind and fight for Zimbabwe.

The second part of the book is set in Zimbabwe in 2000.  Katie is a white African who was born and raised on her family's farm just outside Masvingo.  Now it is time for her family to be removed from their land under the Land Redistribution Programme, a programme which gives the land back to the traditional owners.  Those people that don't willingly give up their land, find themselves invaded by squatters and are forced from their homes. Katie's family seek asylum in Britain where everything is different, and they don't fit in.  It is here that Katie starts to question all she has ever known and starts to see things from another point of view.

Who will like this book: Girls Age 15+
Read it if you like: The Year the Gypsies Came by Linzi Alex Glass

Here's a trailer for Tariro's story:

Here's a trailer for Katie's story:

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