Most helpful positive review
40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
Review by Beda Biswalo, of the CITIZEN newspaper in Dar es Salaam
on 11 May 2010
Its been really a daunting task for me to review this book. I mean how do you review a perfect book? The best I can say to anyone is READ IT!
Anyways, I tried to express how I feel and how I believe others should as well...... Enjoy!
Speak Swahili Dammit (SSD) is an exhilarating book. A marvel. A story worth retelling.
It is a true description of life in the bushes of Tanganyika in the 1950's.
Jimu, the author and main character himself, is an articulate story teller who tells the story as it is. This is confirmed as Jimu goes on openly and vividly describing his recollections without hiding or altering events which many would have found too shameful to associate themselves with, like catching fart!
The poor spelling of Swahili words which the author spells as they are pronounced, is a telling fact that he did not know how to read or write in Swahili, yet the rich vocabulary of Swahili words, idioms, insults and jokes confirm that Jimu is a true mSwahili who belongs to the watu.
You will want to read it quietly alone as it is with novel reading, but you will soon be itching to share the fun with someone else.
The book has a rich account of some of the world's most historical moments and events such as the world war II, Tanzania's independence day, the times of colonialism and more.
Its is guaranteed to drive you through a rollacoster of emotions as the author takes you through the good times and the most horrifying experiences of life. Moving you from anger to fear, panic to laughter, then back again to panic, then laughter, suddenly you realize your eyes are wetting with tears, and on emotions keep changing randomly to the last paragraph.
It's a childishly hilarious tale at times, yet a very serious and sad one at other. Its a thriller, a drama, a love soapy, a comedy, an adventure, all in one.
Its the only novel where I have not only read a story but became a part of it. I became Lutoli, then Umali, then Mlozi, Dieti, then Iwe, then Marais, Matwiga, Roper, Kalebu, and then Steveni.... as I observe this small white black man in great amazement!
This is the first novel ever to read and wish for the end never to come.
The more I read I wanted more, the fewer the pages on the right-hand-side became the more I wished they would miraculously become.
Since I'm told everything has to have its shortfalls, the shortfall of the SSD, if I'm to forge it, is that it makes you want to meet Gretchen, the beauty Jimu fell in love with, while knowing its practically impossible. Otherwise, you will fail to find anything to fault the SSD from the cover to the time when Jimu returns home - in the bushes of Tanganyika at the Republic of Kichoncho!
A must read for everyone!