The Zimbabwean War of Independence

Jonathan Hatendi weaves a tale of abduction, terror, and young lives forever changed. The most frightening aspect of Hatendi’s writing lies buried deep in the fact that his words are true and lay before the reader the events of his own life prior to Zimbabwe’s successful acquisition of independence in 1980. As a civilian surrounded by guerillas and day-to-day routines fraught with danger and the ever-present element of the fear of the unknown, Hatendi survived to tell a tale like no other. The fact that Hatendi is here today to share his story is a testament to his strength and the determination of the people of his country.

Hatendi’s account of his life during secondary school and the torment he endured is titled The Zimbabwean War of Independence. Hatendi jumps right into the striking events and leaves the reader no time to breathe. While trying to process the fear and overwhelming barrage of emotions he and the other young people may have felt on the night of their abduction, I was left wondering how he and his classmates were able to psychologically survive in the months and years that followed. The author’s style of writing and plainspoken manner translates well into text and helps readers visualize the blatant abuse and the true horrors of the times.

The abduction itself is, by far, not the only striking aspect of Hatendi’s story. He relates several events prior to his abduction and following his return. Hatendi writes openly of the way children were forced to witness death and destruction and describes both the realization for the need of counseling and psychological help and the lack thereof. He shares the atrocities page by page as they relate to the young men and women forced to endure lives of fear always questioning their next move.

Hatendi provides little in the way of dialogue as his book is written in first person and reads similarly to a journal account citing events and detailing remembrances of his journey to adulthood. The manner in which Hatendi records his memories is unique and provides readers, as much as is possible, with a relatable account of his experiences. I was, at times, shocked at how easily he seemed to be able to express some of the most horrifying scenes in such basic terms.

Hatendi has given the world a unique and private account of a life lived under duress and a life survived despite insurmountable obstacles. To have made it through a war for independence as a child and be willing to share the story of that fight with the world is admirable and, quite frankly, nothing short of amazing. Hatendi is to be commended for the unique eloquence of his writing and his willingness to share with the world his life as one of Zimbabwe’s survivors.

Pages: 110 | ASIN: B07F1XHN5J

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Posted on September 29, 2018, in Book Reviews, Four Stars and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Jonathan Hatendi

    I would like to comment on the level and quality of your review.
    The reviewer mentions lack of chronology but to me this is not a record of historical events where one would expect relevant dates.

    What is in the writer’s mind are the events themselves and these are related under, say the issue of landmines. That is the various incidents involving landmines that the writer recalls. Under breaking of curfew the writer gives specific incidents involving that. Incidents of sell-outs are given, grouped together without regard to when they actually happened during the war. It is hard to see how the reviewer would expect a chronological account of events or it’s importance.

    Then there is what seems to be a total misunderstanding of the narrative
    I mentioned the click click of the tongue of the guerillas as a means of communication among themselves, but your reviewer refers to clicking of guns, which is hard to imagine.

    I explained “gondo harishayi” as the tendency of the eagle to pick up anything that it comes in contact with when it misses it’s target, and not the swooping down itself.

    The reviewer states; “No one dared ask for his body because he was the ……..” but in the book I specifically wrote, and I quote; ” I do not know if the family of the victim ever tried to claim the body for burial.” The reviewer understood something different.

    That in a nutshell is frustrating, leaving the author with a sense that the reviewer misunderstood the whole account.

  2. Jonathan Hatendi

    The meaning of the last sentence of the review is lost on me. What does; “I felt that the novel the best of Hatendi’s intentions.” mean?
    What is the use of the word best in relation to? Is this in reference to my efforts? If so , how compared?


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