Freitag, 27. Juni 2008
Miriam Mathabane - Miriam's Song
From the South African–born Mathabane (Kaffir Boy, 1986; African Women, 1994, etc.) comes this unsparingly graphic account of his sister's growing up in the last days of apartheid--when violence turned black townships into killing fields and schooling ceased as young Comrades insisted on liberation before education. The story told by Miriam, now studying in the US, is a searing indictment of the violence to women engendered both by apartheid and by traditional African attitudes. Both quashed human potential and aspirations, and good daughters and students like Miriam were as penalized as their more recalcitrant sisters. Born in 1969 and raised in Alexandria, a sprawling black township to the north of Johannesburg, Miriam offers vivid details of township life: the food eaten (a whole chicken was an undreamed-of luxury), the small houses (spotless despite the number of people living in them), and the ubiquitous scrawny dogs picking over the uncollected trash. She describes growing up as the middle daughter in a family made dysfunctional by circumstance. Her illiterate father, unable to find better-paying jobs, is often unemployed, drinks, gambles away their food money, and beats the children; her mother, a devout Christian, lacks the proper documentation and also has employment problems; and her elder brother steals Miriam's savings. The black schools are poorly equipped, the teachers are sadistic, and Miriam (who wants to become a nurse) soon finds her ambition thwarted by the times and by custom.
This wonderful written biography really touched my heart.
Miriam is such a strong woman. I really hope she has now found her luck and is able to live a happier life!