By Moses Isegawa
Like Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children and Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude, Moses Isegawa's Abyssinian Chronicles tells a riveting tale of twentieth-century Africa that's passionate in imaginative and prescient and breathtaking in scope.
At the guts of this unforgettable story is Mugezi, a tender guy who manages to make it in the course of the hellish reign of Idi Amin and reports firsthand the main crushing facets of Ugandan society: he withstands his far-off father's oppression and his mother's cruelty within the identify of Catholic zeal, endures the ravages of struggle, rape, poverty, and AIDS, and but he's capable of preserve a hopeful or even sometimes fun outlook on existence. Mugezi's hard-won observations shape a cri de coeur for a humans formed via untold losses.
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Extra info for Abyssinian Chronicles: A Novel
On our return trip to Togo in 1992, Tammy Holtan was a wonderful host in Kabou-Sara and Johanna Kowitz in Lomé, and Louis Firmin and his Bretons provided indispensable assistance. Research in Zaire in 1989 was assisted by a grant from the Joint Committee on African Studies of the Social Science Research Council and the American Council of Learned Societies with funds provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Ford Foundation. I am also grateful to Mount Holyoke College for faculty grants that helped defray the costs of a brief trip to Dakar in 1989 and research in Togo in 1992.
While our accounts of ironworking are relatively modern, it is reasonable to assume that the basic beliefs go back much farther, that whatever the changes in specific detail, the composite package of core beliefs and the rituals that derive from them would not have changed radically. This is an important point and a contentious one, so I should emphasize that I am not claiming that there is an unchanging body of "traditional metallurgical practices, only a set of beliefs that could be expressed in various ways and adapted to new social and economic conditions without losing their integrity.
Nevertheless, the smelting rituals include several key aspects which one might expect to (and, in fact, does) find elsewhere: a careful definition of who can take part, in terms of' gender, lineage, or skills, and sexual behavior; an overt linkage with genealogy and ancestral power; and an anthropomorphizing of the furnace itself and of the smelting process. It is immediately obvious that gen- Page 5 der is not synonymous with sex since our presence as foreign women was tolerated, while the old woman and her young attendants played a necessary part.
Abyssinian Chronicles: A Novel by Moses Isegawa