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Mama Namibia by Mari Serebrov

Mama Namibia (2013)

by Mari Serebrov

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2011515,329 (4.45)7



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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received a copy of Mama Namibia through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers back in the spring and I read it almost immediately. Circumstances have meant that only now am I writing my review but in some ways that is a good thing: the impact of the book has remained with me despite the passing of time and I would certainly read it again.

The book tells the story of the first genocide of the last century which took place in 1904 in what we now know as Namibia. The story is told through two voices: Jahohora, a young Herero girl and Kov, a Jewish German boy who becomes a doctor, enlists in the army and is sent to Africa under General von Trotha. Von Trotha drives the Herero into the desert to die. Jahohora, separated from her family, struggles to survive against phenomenal odds.

The story does not flinch from the atrocities committed but the language is measured and even. I found this helpful: too much emotion or too many graphic scenes would have made it very difficult for me to read. I also imagined that Jahohora herself would have spoken in this voice. There was both dignity and sorrow in her telling of her life - just as there was in Kov’s.

I had not heard of this atrocity before reading this book. I will certainly not forget it. Mama Namibia tells a powerful story and I applaud the author, Mari Serebrov, for her meticulous research and attention to detail. Her work has been recognised by the Herero chief Kuaima Riruako. ( )
  Saraband14 | Jan 28, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Here is a review by Kim: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2141999344 ( )
  Kimmyd76 | Jan 6, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received a free copy of this book in accordance with the terms of LibraryThing Early Review program.

This book is very rich of emotion, culture, and important historical event in Namibia that I didn't know before.
Both main characters are well developed and easy to relate to. With distinct personality, voice, and lively narration, this story is highly enjoyable.

I highly recommend this book to everyone who love historical fiction. ( )
  fajriy_arunna | Nov 22, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received a copy of this book via LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program.

First I have to admit how horribly unaware I was of the historic events taking place in Namibia during the pre-WWII period and the terrible crimes commited by the German army & colonists towards the Herero. As a German, I feel deeply horrified and sad by yet more atrocities that have been done to innocents. What makes me even more sad is how these acts are kept from public discussion and education. I can admit that before reading this book I was absolutely ignorant towards these events; never before did I hear this topic being discussed anywhere, not in school, nor any media outlet.

The book is well researched and while it starts out somewhat slow, it conveys all the horrors of the times while at the same time it made me deeply admire Herero culture and beliefs. I immediately started liking Jahohora and her family. The every day life of the Herero is vividly described and I felt that I learned a lot about the culture in a lively way instead of a dry history lesson.

This book is truly important and so worth reading - especially if you did not have any prior knowledge of this topic! I know I will gift my family some German copies of this for christmas. It has to be read. ( )
1 vote sonoKoala | Nov 10, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I enjoyed [Serebrov]'s offering even though this is a part of the world which I find unfamiliar. I would recommend this book to other readers who are interested in this geographic region. ( )
  tommygon | Nov 7, 2017 |
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Surviving on her own in the desert, 12-year-old Jahohora searches for her family while hiding from the German soldiers. It’s 1904, and Germany has claimed all of South West Africa. Since the Herero would rather fight than surrender their ancestral homes, Gen. von Trotha has declared that they all should be forced into the Omaheke to die. Wasting away in the desert, Jahohora is about to give up her desperate struggle for life when she finds hope in a simple act of kindness from a Jewish doctor serving in the German army.   [retrieved 7/17/17 from Amazon.com]
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