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Friday, January 20, 2012

I Dare to Say: African Women Share Their Stories of Hope and Survival by Hilda Twongyeirwe


A young woman at last finds love, only to discover, after the death of her baby and her man, that he was married, had eight children, and died of "slim," or AIDS.
A girl hides under a blanket in her dormitory while the Lord's Resistance Army, in search of child brides, pushes an armed child soldier through the window so they can take their pick of the terrified girls.
Not long after her ritual genital mutilation, a girl on her way home from school is beaten by four men, then delivered to an old man who will be her husband, a standard marriage practice.
In I Dare to Say, African women speak out in their own words, sharing poignant tales of womanhood, revealing how they cope and survive, and confiding their dreams and hopes for themselves and their children. They tell not only of atrocities and pain but also of motherhood, marriage, love, and courage, a testament to the bond among women from all cultures.
Dramatic, sometimes heartbreaking, often inspiring, I Dare to Say vividly brings to life how political instability, ethnic rivalries, and traditional religion shape the daily life-as well as the future-of rural African girls and women.
Hilda Twongyeirwe is an author, a poet, an editor, and the recipient of the Certificate of Recognition from the National Book Trust of Uganda for her book Fina the Dancer. She is the coordinator of FEMRITE and lives in Kampala, Uganda. FEMRITE, the Uganda Women Writers' Association was founded in 1995 to empower women through writing and sisterhood, giving them a voice in a male-dominated culture.
Summary taken from
Length: 319 pages
Source: NetGalley ARC
Publication Date: February 1st 2012
Let's get one thing straight. This book is not meant to be enjoyed. It is not meant to make the reader feel better. It is skillfully written but the subject matter is not by any means for the faint of heart. The book is written by Hilda Twongyeirwe who being a native of Uganda went out and about her homeland to interview women so they would have a voice and that their stories would be told.
I liked the way that the book was written because although the author interviewed the women their stories were told without being broken up into questions. Their words flowed freely. I'm glad that the author let them speak and she just recorded their stories as they told them

This book was an eye opener. It was completely and utterly heart wrenching. Honestly with each and ever different account from these special women my heart broke for them and broke with them. The horrors that these women faced and thousands of others face on a daily basis are unimaginable and unspeakable.

The women in this book lived through gang rape, spousal abuse, kidnapping, aids, FGM (Female Genital Mutilation)  and being displaced by war. The things that they bore witness to are the very things that those of us who live in the comfort of our nice big, clean homes in the western world believe that nightmares are made of. One woman told Hilda that when soldiers came to her village she saw one man grab a woman's baby and beat it to death with a mortar and pedestal. I wonder if the child's mother survived or if she died afterward at the hands of the friends of the man who took her baby from her. I hope in my heart that she lived.

That is just one of the accounts in this book but that one is the one that has stayed with me the most. It was the one who made me the angriest and scared and grateful. I was angry at what occurred, scared that it is still happening and selfishly grateful that I'm not there where all this happened.

Despite the subject matter the book resonates with hope. Something that you wouldn't really expect to find after all these women and girls have been through but it is still there. I think it remains there because that's all the people have. Hope for a better tomorrow keeps them going.

I'd like to thank the author for publishing this book and the women who told their stories. They are an inspiration to us all and a reminder that we may live in comfort and complain about the small things but there will always be someone else who has it worse off. In fact they may have it so bad where they live that the contents of this book become common place or even normal. That is the most frightening thing I think.

I  highly recommend this to everyone. It is a book that needs to be read and one that deserves attention. It may be an uncomfortable read but out of respect for the women who have suffered and continue to suffer I urge everyone to read it.

*I recieved a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my free and honest review.

★ ★ ★ ★

1 comment:

  1. powerful review for what sounds like a powerful book. You know i really wonder why the West, for example with all its wealth and resources lets this stuff happen. Its sickening really. And the people that commit theses sins on women and children how could they do these acts and live with themselves.


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