Review: Memoirs of a Born Free

A few weeks a ago, I read “Memoirs of a Born Free” by Malaika Wa Azania. A few of my friends asked for my opinion on this book so instead of sending my opinion directly to them, you can read it too!

So, I’m an 80s baby and I was born in Durban, South Africa. South Africa got its democracy in 1994 and everyone born in the year of 1994 onwards, is considered to be a “Born Free” as they were born after Apartheid. Now, I’m not a Born Free but I was curious to read up on what Malaika’s perspective was of South Africa and the ruling party (ANC) through her eyes.

This book is an easy read and she gets right to the point. The parts that stood out for me is how she describes her years growing up with a mother who was rooted in NGO work, had strong views on politics and attributed all her success to the ANC. Malaika also raises some critical points that resonate with me as the youth of South Africa under the rule of the ANC. Some of these points often make me ask if the notion of a ‘rainbow nation’ was so good that we as South Africans rushed to believe in it before we had actually dealt with the anger and hurt of Apartheid that was just brushed underneath the carpet.

Just like a divorced family, those affected by it need to mourn and deal with the feelings through some kind of therapy or coping mechanism before healing can begin. I feel South Africa needed to mourn and really work through the emotions to HEAL first before we could be called a rainbow nation. Yes, we are free and I love this country but I feel we are not yet fully HEALED!

This book is positioned as a letter to the ANC and in my opinion, it would have been great to get a response from the ANC (positive or negative) on its contents… but then again, maybe I (and Malaika) are probably asking for and expecting too much.


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