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MUKIWA by Peter Godwin

MUKIWA

A White Boy in Africa

By Peter Godwin

Pub Date: May 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-87113-621-X
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly

 The insanity of war, the beauty and mystery of Africa, the chaotic death pangs of colonialism, an extraordinary coming-of-age: All swirl hauntingly together in this compelling account of the end of Rhodesia. A fervid blend of My Traitor's Heart, Dispatches, and Heart of Darkness, Godwin's account ranks with some of the finest war reportage of this century. It is also a ceaselessly honest and evocative memoir. The author, a former war correspondent for the London Sunday Times, was born in the twilight of white rule in Rhodesia. When he was only five, the sporadic guerrilla war spiraled into an incessant orgy of atrocities and atrocious reprisals. Casualties on both sides were horrific. As soon as he graduated from high school, Godwin was rushed off to fight for a state and a cause he no longer believed in. Eventually, he got away to the comparative sanity of England; when peace was finally negotiated, he returned as a journalist, full of high-minded idealism and hope, to what was now called Zimbabwe. He soon found that the new regime was little better than what it had replaced. Majority rule withered as the ruling party viciously turned on the opposition, employing many of the despotic laws enacted by its white predecessors to jail, censor, and intimidate. Then, in the province of Matabeleland, Godwin discovered that government- sanctioned massacres were underway: men, women, children, whole villages exterminated for no other reason than that they belonged to the wrong tribe. A warrant for Godwin's arrest was soon issued, and once again he fled the country. Although a makeshift kind of peace was eventually restored to Zimbabwe, it was more a cause for wariness than celebration. A remarkable national and personal saga that, even in the darkest of its many dark moments, remains sensitive, insightful, and humane.