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Mukiwa: A White Boy in Africa Paperback – 7 Feb 1997


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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; New edition edition (7 Feb. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330339842
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330339841
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13.2 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 632,410 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Peter Godwin is the award winning author of The Fear, When a Crocodile Eats the Sun, and Mukiwa, all published by Picador. He writes for various publications including the New York Times magazine, National Geographic and Vanity Fair. He lives in Manhattan.

Product Description

From the Publisher

Vivid and frightening memoir of growing up in Africa
Growing up in Rhodesia in the 1960s, Peter Godwin inhabited a magical and frightening world of leopard-hunting, lepers, witch doctors, snakes and forest fires. But as an adolescent, a conscripted boy-soldier caught in the middle of a vicious civil war, and then as an adult who returned to Zimbabwe as a journalist to cover the bloody transition to majority black rule, he discovered a land stalked by death and danger. "A classic" Sunday Telegraph; "Speaking as a former 'white boy in Africa' myself, I can both testify to and applaud the book's authenticity and Godwin's miraculous recall" William Boyd, Sunday Times; "His memoir of those terrible years is a vividly scary adventure story, as well as a poignant portrait of a bitter moral dilemma" Graham Lord, Daily Telegraph

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"I think I first realized something was wrong when our next neighbour, oom Piet Oberholzer, was murdered." Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 30 July 2001
Format: Paperback
I have never read a more heart-felt, poigniant, passionate and interesting account of the situation regarding the transition of Rhodesia to Zimbabwe. The initial flavour of this book takes that of Roald Dahl at his very best, but the writing develops and matures with the authors recollections of his childhood/teenages and early adulthood. It really is a book that you cannot put down, and I am sure many white Rhodies and Zimbabweans can relate to Godwins work in more ways than one. If there is one book you buy whilst surfing for things to read, make it this one, and you won't be dissappointed.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By P. Kennedy on 20 Nov. 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a real read! How Mr Godwin remembered all the stuff from his childhood beats me but he has put it together in a very readable format. I brought this book on holiday and never lifted my head. He gives a very good perspective on Rhodesia as he grew up and developed into an adult. It is brutal in some aspects but is well balanced with nice touches of family life. The Author is not bitter even though he lost his sister during the War and he has some good stories about Black and White relationships.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Miss N S Hodges on 23 Sept. 2002
Format: Paperback
This book gives a true insight into what it was like to grow up in africa as a 'Mukiwa' - white man. It also shows the events leading to the current situation in Zimbabwe. If you are Zimbabwean, white or black, or if you want to know more about what it's like to be a Zimbo, this book is a MUST!
Enjoy
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 Mar. 2000
Format: Paperback
A brilliant book -- I am surprised how few reviews there are of it here. Split into three sections, each one is a gem in its own right. For anyone who has been a child of Africa like Godwin, the first section is a must read. Outsiders might think it a trifle idealised but white Africans of all ages will recognise some of the magic of Godwin's childhood in their own.
The second secion moves on to Godwin's period as one of Mr. Smith's soldiers, conscripted into the BSAP during the war in Rhodesia. It's not judgemental - one of the book's major strengths. Instead of writing a liberal or conservative tract the author just tells what he saw with his own eyes, and he tells it honestly. He shelters neither side but also does not apportion blame -- something for which I have heard Godwin criticised. In response I say that if you are wanting a history of that period, as the author himself says, this is not the book for you. This is a memoir, and an intensely personal one.
The final section deals with Godwin's quest, on behalf of the Sunday Times, to uncover some of the atrocities committed at the hand's of Mugabe's elite butchers in Matabeleland. Some harrowing stuff but a fascinating insight into what it is like to live in a land of tribal repression, something even "enlightened" Zimbabwe certainly did not escape. A damning indictment of the Mugabe regime which, for his pains, led to Godwin's expulsion from Zimbabwe.
This book was given to me as a birthday present and I would certainly describe it as the best readable present ever given to me. Many will enjoy the first third because of its childish innocence and might be disconcerted by the gradual deterioration of the book's happy tone. But that is Godwin's point. The book is about loss of innocence, which is what makes it so poignant. As another reviewer has said it makes us all, white Africans as well as Black, realise the shameful way we treated this beautiful continent.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By C. Matthews on 8 Dec. 2000
Format: Paperback
A absolute tour de force - this book superbly covers the difficult years of the Rhodesia - Zimbabwe transition. Its dedication to 'the home I never realised I ever had' is made almost more poignant viewed against Zimbabwe's current melt-down
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By T. Williams on 16 Mar. 2007
Format: Paperback
This is a triumph. Godwin's account of the beginnings of Rhodesia's move towards independence and its fruition is 1980 is a beautifully crafted, honest and at times terrifying read. I have never in my life finished a book and immediately turned back to page 1 and started all over again (although I did force myself to stop at page 18 when I realised what I was doing). Peter Godwin invites us to share the love he has for his family, friends and a country struggling to free itself from its colonial past. From childhood to adulthood Mukiwa charts the drastic changes of a country and its effect on the Godwin's. The companion piece, When A Crocodile Eats the Sun is even more profound. A work that lets us know more of the tragic situation in Zim. I wept.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 Mar. 2000
Format: Paperback
A brilliant book -- I am surprised how few reviews there are of it here. Split into three sections, each one is a gem in its own right. For anyone who has been a child of Africa like Godwin, the first section is a must read. Outsiders might think it a trifle idealised but white Africans of all ages will recognise some of the magic of Godwin's childhood in their own.
The second secion moves on to Godwin's period as one of Mr. Smith's soldiers, conscripted into the BSAP during the war in Rhodesia. It's not judgemental - one of the book's major strengths. Instead of writing a liberal or conservative tract the author just tells what he saw with his own eyes, and he tells it honestly. He shelters neither side but also does not apportion blame -- something for which I have heard Godwin criticised. In response I say that if you are wanting a history of that period, as the author himself says, this is not the book for you. This is a memoir, and an intensely personal one.
The final section deals with Godwin's quest, on behalf of the Sunday Times, to uncover some of the atrocities committed at the hand's of Mugabe's elite butchers in Matabeleland. Some harrowing stuff but a fascinating insight into what it is like to live in a land of tribal repression, something even "enlightened" Zimbabwe certainly did not escape. A damning indictment of the Mugabe regime which, for his pains, led to Godwin's expulsion from Zimbabwe.
This book was given to me as a birthday present and I would certainly describe it as the best readable present ever given to me. Many will enjoy the first third because of its childish innocence and might be disconcerted by the gradual deterioration of the book's happy tone. But that is Godwin's point. The book is about loss of innocence, which is what makes it so poignant. As another reviewer has said it makes us all, white Africans as well as Black, realise the shameful way we treated this beautiful continent.
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