Africa To Aotearoa - Historical Fiction
Toby stays in a village in Zimbabwe’s largest national park on the edge of the Kalahari Desert. He spends his time with Bow, the chameleon at his favourite hideout, a 2000-year-old baobab tree. He lives off the land picking wild fruits in the subtropical climates, dreaming of past visitors.
His parents send him to a boarding school which appals him at leaving all that he loves in an era of escalating guerrilla warfare. Perplexed why they are sending him four hundred kilometres away. Toby confides in Themba, the family’s domestic worker, which begins a lifetime kinship. It is a risky relationship in a nation of political unrest.
Toby prepares himself. Aware he must live up to his parent’s expectations and the demands of the minority community. He knows he can’t fight the inevitable so puts up a facade of bravery, throwing himself into the foray of bullying, self-preservation, aggression and racism.
Toby spends seven years at boarding school. The first couple are terrifying, but he works his way through the nightmare. As a senior he refuses to put others through the same torment and the constant display of cruelty based on age, gender, race and creed confuses him. (Book two of the trilogy takes the reader through Tobias O’Malley’s boarding school life.) He puts his people skills toward resisting evil and in removing an indoctrinated apathy. Temba is always there ensuring his safety via an unseen network.
On leaving school Toby enjoys young adulthood. Alcohol, woman and freedom to do as he pleases. A carefree time of a beckoning future and the divorce of his parents who no longer have a hold over him. When accused of stealing the weekly wages, his bubble bursts. A torrid stint in the cramped confines of a police cell his father oversaw. An age of irony and reversed persecution. The episode refocuses Toby to the realities of southern Africa in the 1980s. He searches greener pastures in the home of his forefathers in the United Kingdom, along with the growing tide of those escaping the political upheaval.
In his twenties he revels in the freedom of a first world country where he finds employment and soon rises through the ranks. At twenty-two years of age he accumulates the material trappings of commercial success. Life is wonderful, but something is amiss. He cannot share his loneliness. Mud island cannot hope to replace his beloved Africa and mentor, Temba.
Nelson Mandela’s release speech after twenty-seven years of incarceration in 1990 persuades Tobias O’Malley to return home. It is another decision that many close to him can’t comprehend. The early periods go well. The new South Africa is exciting and scary, but soon the talk is not meeting the walk. Corruption replaces bureaucrats, racism for nepotism. Violence takes on a death of its own. Toby is disappointed for always seeing the bright side, of being let down by his own expectations. Of hopes dashed by human shortcomings, politics and financial greed.
Xenophobia is rife. Madiba has gone. Toby’s family is struggling. The breakdown of law and order curtails his personal freedom. Toby re-unites with his long-lost friend, Temba, who shares the story of his nephew Lucky Ndlovu in the squatter camps of Johannesburg. (The last book in the trilogy follows Lucky Ndlovu’s antics and experiences). Toby needs to find a haven for his family. He takes a speculative flight to Aotearoa, the land of the Long White Cloud, New Zealand of which he knows little. On a ferry he sees the Auckland skyline when a sense of wellbeing from deep within envelopes him. The narrative concludes (not ends) with his household joining him. He lives with his memories and regrets of what he could or should have done.
A story of the struggle of Africa told from three unique perspective determining whether she and her people can grow. To have access to the basics and perhaps even dream of peace and stability.
No people have a claim to her soil
Nor beast exclusivity to her bounty
She is Eve to all humankind
Politics violate her virtue
Sickness and Hunger her soldiers of fortune
Race and Religion pawns of expediency
Free from History’s Blame and Guilt
Never forget your rightful place
Nor shy from your Ancestry
Cower from Nothing Preserve this land that lives within
Praise your God without Reserve
Warm your soul beneath African suns
Listen to the whisper of Savannah winds
As Zambezi waters flow through your veins
Lightning dances across darkened skies
Thunderstorms beat to your heart
Rain soothes scorched earth as tears of home fall
Guard against Africa’s prejudiced
They build walls of doubt
Let no kith or kin hinder your return
By kind permission of Lazarus Ramontseng. He is an experienced multi-skilled artist who has been in the business for over fifteen years. His idea Lazart studio was to create a suitable platform for art to be created and exposed. He specialises in South African township lifestyle using Paper Collage as a medium.