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Book Reviews

Screening Motherhood in Contemporary World Cinema

Volume 13, Issue 2 | Published 30/11/2016  

Editor: Asma Sayed
Publ: Demeter Press
Reviewer: Meena Nanji

Screening Motherhood in Contemporary World Cinema is a collection of scholarly essays examining how motherhood is represented in a variety of cinematic traditions from around the globe.

Edited by Asma Syed, the book is organized into four parts with the first two thematically arranged. Part 1 discusses independent and experimental films from the U.S, Canada, Australia, Eastern Europe and Russia, with a few articles featuring marginalized or underrepresented groups within these areas. Part 2 explores recent Hollywood fantasy/sci-fi films and their changing representations of women/mothers. The last two parts are geographically organized, with ‘Latin Mamas’ being the focus of Part 3, and ‘Eastern Mothers’ comprising Part 4.

Shakespeare in Swahililand - Adventures with the ever living poet

Volume 13, Issue 2 | Published 30/11/2016  

Author: Edward Wilson-Lee
Publ: Harper Collins
Reviewer: Ramnik Shah

The title alone should excite the reader`s interest.  Add to it the fact that the author, son of expatriate wildlife conservationists, who is a Cambridge academic teaching historical literature, grew up in Kenya and has retained an attachment to his childhood home and is fluent in Swahili.

The book`s theme of `Adventures with the ever-living poet` encapsulates its essence.  We are indeed taken on a journey of discovery and imagination, where the past and the present, the personal, the poetic and the political, are seamlessly threaded together to form a fascinating narrative of the impact of Shakespeare on the East African hinterland, both metaphorically and geographically.

Makhan Singh: A Revolutionary Kenyan Trade Unionist

Volume 13, Issue 2 | Published 30/11/2016  

Publ: Vita Books, London, UK
ISBN: 978-1-869886-22-6
Reviewer: John Sibi-OKumu

Imagine being the father of a son who refuses to inherit the business that you have created over the years because, as a committed communist, he doesn’t believe in such things and would much rather remain a mere employee.

Imagine ending up being the wife of that recalcitrant son and, in response to a plea for him to dedicate more of his time and energies to the family, you are told ‘I am sorry, but as far as I’m concerned, you can all perish in thin air but I cannot give up my political activities in this country.’

Indians In Kenya: The Politics Of Diaspora

Volume 13, Issue 2 | Published 30/11/2016  

Author: : Sana Aiyar
Publ: Harvard University Press, 2015
ISBN: 978-0-674-28988-8
Reviewer: Jeanne Hromnik

I am one of those Indians who are the subject of Sana Aiyar’s book.

My association with Kenya coincides roughly with the period she covers, my grandfather arriving in the 1890s, while I left Kenya to all intents and purposes when I went to study in the UK in 1966. Reading Aiyar’s book, its scholarly tone notwithstanding, was for me an emotional journey.

Before I came to my senses, I felt a surge of incredulous anger at Shiva Naipaul’s comment, quoted in the first paragraph of the Introduction, that Indians were a ‘shadowy’ presence …‘just there’. Naipaul’s comment, as I soon realised, was made in 1976, over a decade after Uhuru, when Indians had left Kenya in large numbers – 28% of the entire Indian population between 1962 and 1968, according to Aiyar’s figures, forming what she calls a ‘voluntary’ exodus.

Author: Zarina Patel
Publ
: Zand Graphics
ISBN: 978-9966-094-64-3
Reviewer: Shamlal Puri

Years ago, I was assigned by the venerable the late Khushwant Singh, editor of erstwhile The Illustrated Weekly of India, to profile Mrs Frene Noshir Ginwala the amiable Indian-origin Parsi managing editor of Tanganyika Standard Newspapers, for an article on East African Asians in that popular magazine. When I approached, Mrs Ginwala, my former editor at The Standard and Sunday News in Dar es Salaam for an interview she gave me a terse but friendly response saying ‘I don’t believe that as an editor I should personally seek any publicity….’

Colleagues of my era at The Standard often referred to Mrs Ginwala as a “Cyclone in a Sari” because of her strict discipline in the newsroom. This great lady became the first Speaker of the South African Parliament when Nelson Mandela was elected the President.