Friday, August 30, 2013

Hamba Gashle by Ian Hassall

This is the memoir of the author from the age of 3 to 22. He was born in England, but at the age of 4, his parents decided to move to Africa, a land of prosperity for whites at that time. Over the years, as our narrator grows up, he must come to grips with racial inequality and social injustice as he survives the divorce of his parents, the subsequent blending of step-families, fitting in with peers, and all the challenges of education, dating and finally college and finding his place in the world. By the end of this journey, opportunities for whites have diminished as more and more jobs are "Africanized," and he returns to England, a virtual stranger in the very place where he was born.

I found this story fascinating. Through simple diary format, the author is honest, at times brutally so, and he always considers both sides of the issues. "Hamba Gashle" means "chameleon" and also" take it easy," as he learned through the years to blend in and make peace with whatever changes occurred around him.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys coming of age stories and also to anyone who enjoys learning about different cultures and exploring political philosophies.

I received a copy of this book free through Goodreads First Reads.

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