Heavens, an exciting novel in a legal milieu

Book: The Heavens May Fall

Book: The Heavens May Fall

Author: Unity Dow

Publisher: Double Storey

Reviewer: Edward Tsumele

Staring at the title, The Heavens May Fall, I found it rather intimidating because I thought that the book was about religion and I was going to be reminded of what a sinner I am.

How wrong I was because the first chapter neatly fitted my reading taste.

It took me just two hours to complete reading The Heavens May Fall.

Unity Dow is Botswana's first female high court judge. The book is more than just a number of interesting stories about the battle of one lawyer's quest to fight for society's underdogs.

It is a free lesson about the state of justice in Botswana in particular, and the legal profession in general.

But the lessons are not told in a boring manner. The stories are told aesthetically, appealingly and also quite convincingly. The language is simple.

The writer has managed to capture all the cultural nuances that define the Batswana way of life, making it an authentic novel that is also very absorbing.

Though The Heavens May Fall is a work of fiction, the manner in which the stories are linked together could very well be factual.

The Heavens May Fall comprises a series of linked stories that come together at the end of the book to complete one comprehensive story.

It is the story of lawyer Naledi Chaba, who works at the Bana Bantle Children's Agency in deep rural Botswana, and of her battle in the judiciary.

Chaba is a courageous young lawyer, a champion of children who have been violated. Most of the children she fights for in court have been raped by older men.

In Chaba's endeavour to seek justice for the abused children, she runs into trouble with Botswana's chief justice when she applies for a writ that a particular judge should not preside over the rape case of a 15-year-old girl.

Chaba made the request because the child is that judge's granddaughter, the child of the young woman he had a sexual encounter with when he was at high school.

And when Chaba made the application, she asked that it be heard in camera because of the sensitive nature of the case.

But the judge hearing the application insists that the application should be heard in an open court, leaving the young lawyer with no choice but to announce the reason for the application.

When the county's chief justice is sucked into the row, Chaba's problems multiply.

Now get hold of a copy of The Heavens May Fall and read further.

The book is full of surprises.