So What Are You Reading?

Reviews of Books.

Friday, March 17, 2006


Slave. Mende Nazer

Sudan is in the headlines these days. This book provides a very personal glimpse into the story behind those headlines. The book tells the story of Mende Nazer in three basic parts: her early life in the Nuba mountains; her capture and life as a domestic slave in Khartoum and London, and her escape from slavery and attempts to establish asylum.

Her life in the Nuba tribes of southern Sudan reveals much about the culture and values of these people. Mende Nazer portrays the Nuba as simple farmers with a proud culture who are at the mercy of the Arab Sudanese of the north. Although slavery is technically against the law, there seems to be a lively black market which the Nuba appear helpless to stop.

The family that buys Mende when she is 12 takes great caution to hide her condition from officials while they brag about their slave to family and friends. Mende's perspective as a child wrenched from her tight family structure and seeking to comprehend the world through the eyes of a slave, makes for compelling reading. Reading this book is a great way to put a human face on what is happening in Sudan. Highly recommended.

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