H EARTFELT but HISTORICALLY VOID
Author : Andrew Brown
Publisher: Struik Publishers
Reviewer: Zenoyise Madikwa
Pardon me if you think I'm politically incorrect, but I think Andrew Brown is a political crook.
In his account of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, he deliberately omits the real root of the Rwandan genocide that goes back to colonialism where the settlers favoured Hutus over Tutsis. He does not highlight that the root of the country's genocide lies in its colonial experience - it was first colonised by Germany and later Belgium. Nowhere does he mention this either through the characters or the storytelling.
Be that as it may, I credit Brown for chronicling a beautiful book in an extremely creative way. The carefully chosen characters are beautifully positioned to tell the story in a fitting way. It is a heartbreaking, breathtaking and well-told novel.
It tells the story of three people captured in an ugly war - Melchior, a Hutu priest in a rural community; his childhood friend Victor, head of the communal police in the area; and Selena, a Tutsi woman from the city and Melchior's secret love. The book reminds one of the ugly Xhosa and Zulu hostel conflict of the 1990s.
Inyenzi was first published in 2000. The new edition came out this year. Brown's first book, Coldsleep Lullaby, was published in 2005 and won the 2006 Sunday Times Fiction Award. He is an advocate in Cape Town and a reservist sergeant. He is married with three children.
He has travelled extensively in southern and central Africa.