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Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Review: Conversations with My Sons and Daughters

Title and author: Conversations with My Sons and Daughters by Mamphela Ramphele.

What is it about aka the blurb: Ramphele has stated that she wrote this book in response to the many mentorship requests she's received. It's because of that, that there are many questions and challenges posed to the reader. So it's no surprise that the blurb starts with: "Where did we lose our idealism and why and at what cost?". She does partially answer this but, as throughout the book it's about more than what she thinks should happen or the answer to the questions she poses.

Readability and who would enjoy it:  This is an intensive read, it is a book that you need to take chapter by chapter - maybe even section by section - because you need to really reflect and have what she's written sink in. It also happens because you're calling out facts to your husband as you go along and something interesting takes root in your mind. Something that really stood out for me in this book  - and her earlier one Laying Ghosts to Rest [I'm reading it now] is that we really should have history be a compulsory subject. She'll mention a person, say many don't know who this is/or this person has been written out of history, I'll go I know who this is, check with others around and they won't, so high school history ftw! Although this does tie into her discussion on education, and history of course.

The sections that really grabbed me, and had me feeling somewhat ashamed at my lack of doing anything to better the country were those discussing education, language and values. Granted though the feelings of shame were taken down a notch by her saying many of us are still searching for definitions of our generation's mission, it helps a little. Although then there are the discussions on being engaged citizens, or more like becoming proper democratic citizens and removing our 'subjecthood', which both add to your desire to do something, but show that figuring out what it is, how to go about it and doing it is something that the nation needs to grapple with.

This is one of the few books this year that has made a real, and probably lasting impression on me, and chances are it will make one on you  too. Without a doubt, everyone from 18 and up should read this. Not only does it present you with things to ponder, it adds to a more rounded, full view of our country's history and how we can all become full citizens of our nation.


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