Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Fear: The Last Days of Robert Mugabe

I am, probably, the least likely person to read this book out of Tarryn and I.  I always figured that I would be reading non-fiction books while sitting on my veranda at the spritely age of 85 during my retirement – a very juvenile notion.  I will also admit that I am the first to opt fiction over non-fiction!  However, this one can be made the proverbial exception to the rule. 
I finally placed Peter Godwin’s The Fear back on to my bookshelf yesterday afternoon; I was white-faced and the pit at the bottom of my stomach lurched as I thought of the torture victims I had, only 30 minutes before, encountered.  I placed the book in its alphabetical place on my bulging bookshelf and had the intense urge to start building a Zimbabwean relief centre in my back garden (Another juvenile thought).  I wanted to blow my vuvuzela down the street and rally all my neighbours to start a mini Kempton Park revolution against these horrid crimes and to somehow regain the dignity of these tortured people.
Peter Godwin, a writing gem to the African Journalism Genre, whips you about on this 4X4, uneven road, 3rd world, eye-opening, heat-ridden, and flinching non-fiction rollercoaster journey through Zimbabwe’s nail-biting elections that has finally brought a tyrant to his knees.   Though, Zimbabweans can smell freedom, Robert Mugabe won’t go down without a fight.  The Fear is what people have dubbed this pogrom of torture and discipline – a way to turn the vote to favour Robert Mugabe.
I haven’t gasped and cringed at TRUE writing before, because we live in Africa and anything is possible.  The Fear by Peter Godwin left me outraged, sympathetic, saddened, weepy, unmoved, thought provoked, jolted, separated, grateful and just plain sick to my stomach towards each case all at one time.  I placed this book on the shelf and hugged my Dad, my Mother and had sugared tea with my Gran. This book forces you to look at the world in a new and eye-opening way.  This happened right “next door” without any media covering this!
A book not for the faint hearted but something you as, not only an African, but as a Human being should read.  A book that confirms that power makes monsters of men (By men I am not be gender specific).

- Review by Kelly Ansara


Tarryn said...

Can one post a comment on one's own blog, I wonder? Ah well, here we go...
I read this book, looking a little green and shell-shocked through it all. Afterwards, I felt the need to put on my hard-hat, gum boots and break a Guinness record by entering Zim with guns ablazing, yet remarkably no scratches (minus the conveniently-situated cut along the top of my arm that does not bleed).
THE FEAR is an incredible account of what REALLY happened in 2008. Peter Godwin's journalism and story-telling talent come to the fore as the reader discovers just how wrong Mbeki was. Not only was there a crisis in Zimbabwe, but something akin to a genocide. It is a interesting, if devastating, that should be read in time to prevent this happening again in next year's elections in Zim.

TheBookGirl said...

Your reading experience with this one sounds very similar to one I had earlier this year with a book I reviewed on my blog, In the Shadow of Freedom, written by someone who grew up in the Congo during the Congolese Civil War and eventually escaped to America. The brutality was so overwhelming at times, but I simply could not put the book down.

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