Yes, I know – In my last review, I had claimed that I was taking a short break and diving into Africa39. However, a book exchange went down and I ended up with this book.
I won’t lie, I saw the cover and judged the book in an instant – I was skeptical about it’s content however, the lender recommended it and I trusted them.
This review contains a couple of spoilers
The book is a personal account of a fight against an oppressive government. Young men with ideas about standing against injustice and the guts to get up and do something about it. Sounds similar to the review I made about Daniel Kalinaki’s Kizza Besigye and Uganda’s unfinished revolution, doesn’t it?
The difference is that in this book, Gen. Kutesa takes us on a journey that contains the grim details of the brutality behind a ‘revolution’.
At one point the he talks about going to get more ammunition and encountering his two friends helping their wounded comrade to the rear.
The wounded comrade was headless.
He wrote about the effect it had on him, on his fellow fighters. The hope that was brought in successes and in the birth of children in the bush. Friends lost in ambushes, coats shredded because of gunfire but the owners miraculously surviving.
The tribal divide that existed before the struggle and the task it took to change the mindsets of guerilla fighters from different regions but fighting for the freedom of one country.
This was Kampala, a city of bullets, bombs and drunken and drugged soldiers who were heavily armed…
To me, he made clear the situation of the country between 1979 to 1986. For some reason, the different regime changes during that period never really sank in until now.
I gotta say – if my dad was alive, he would be answering some pretty tough questions. Like for instance, I know that he and one of my uncles planned a road trip to Kigali in this period also. A period where road blocks were like the Tarmac on roads.
I mean, really – I used to get a tongue lashing for even thinking about a sleepover, however, these brothers had the audacity to plan to travel for fun on a road notorious for trouble!! Mehhhh!
Anyway, I digress…
It’s a good insightful read.
One thing the OCD character in me would have loved, is a little more chronological order. The book is currently arranged in order of events and sometimes these overlapped each other.
On an unrelated note, the day I got this book, it was announced that Gen. Pecos Kutesa had been elected among those who would represent the army in parliament. I smiled when I got to the end of the book and read his remarks about leaving the Constitutional Assembly, I wonder what his thoughts are as he takes on this new position. (This book was published in 2006).
Side Note: This is the fourth book I am completing off the 2016 Africa Reading Challenge. My reading list is here in case you are looking for books to add to yours OR if you have book I simply must read feel free to share.
And now, after this fabulous interruption, back to Africa39
The book Africa39 – is a compilation of 39 short stories authored by some of the most gifted/talented African writers (south of the Sahara / diaspora).