Sunday, September 20, 2009

Dinner With Mugabe

Heidi holland after spending two years trying to get an interview with the Zimbabwean tyrant has written such an in depth depiction of the man behind the monster. The book is superbly researched and Holland delves into the lives of several individuals that have had an influence or have had some significant interaction with Mugabe.

The book goes into Mugabe from a very young age and creates an image of a small, quiet, self-isolated child whose only real passion is his books. Details of his family, his mother, Bona, who thought of him as a Saint as well as cousins are also investigated by Holland. It is incredibly enlightening and you find yourself getting drawn in and actually feeling sympathetic to this young child from Kutama who has since gone on to shred the bread basket of Africa into a pit of economic crisis and fear.

Holland tries to find out what happened to Mugabe during his eleven years of imprisonment during the Smith Regime. She however does not manage to dig up much of Mugabes life behind the walls apart from his ability to almost block out the reality of the situation and keep his composure. It is a fairly moving part of the book as Mugabes first child (fromSally) dies at the age of three and Smith does not allow Mugabe to go to his funeral. Surely enough to create a huge amount of resentment to such a colonial system.

There is a fair amount of politics involved such as the Lancaster house deal. I am no political expert and I found myself drifting off occasionally but still phenomenally written.

The last section of the book finally finds you sitting in front of Mugabe. Holland wanting to actually understand this man describes the situation in great detail and gives the reader an amazing idea of what it must have been like to be sitting in front of a man capable of an atrocity such as Gukurahundi (estimated deaths were between 8000 and 30 000). The man is clearly delusional as to the actual state of affairs that the Zimbabwean people are living with on a day to day basis.

Hollands research efforts and determination have really paid off. The book is amazing and is a must read for anyone that has any interest in Zimbabwe or the workings and development of a tyrant.

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