When a Crocodile Eats the Sun A Memoir of Africa



[Download] ➹ When a Crocodile Eats the Sun A Memoir of Africa By Peter Godwin – E17streets4all.co.uk After his father's heart attack in 1984 Peter Godwin began a series of pilgrimages back to Zimbabwe the land of his birth from Manhattan where he now lives On these freuent visits to check on his elde After his father's heart attack Crocodile Eats PDF/EPUB ¿ in Peter Godwin began a series of pilgrimages back to Zimbabwe the land of his birth from Manhattan where he now lives On these freuent visits to check on his elderly parents he bore witness When a Epub / to Zimbabwe's dramatic spiral downwards into thejaws of violent chaos presided over by an increasingly enraged dictator And yet long after their comfortable lifestyle had been shattered and millions were fleeing his parents refuse to leave steadfast in their allegiance to the a Crocodile Eats Epub Ý failed state that has been their adopted home for yearsThen Godwin discovered a shocking family secret that helped explain their loyalty Africa was his father's sanctuary from another identity another worldWHEN A CROCODILE EATS THE SUN is a stirring memoir of a Crocodile Eats the Sun PDF \ the disintegration of a family set against the collapse of a country But it is also a vivid portrait of the profound strength of the human spirit and the enduring power of love.When a Crocodile Eats the Sun A Memoir of Africa

Peter Godwin was born and Crocodile Eats PDF/EPUB ¿ raised in Africa He studied law at Cambridge University and international relations at Oxford He is an award winning foreign correspondent author documentary maker and screenwriterAfter practicing human rights law in Zimbabwe he became a foreign When a Epub / and war correspondent and has reported from over countries including wars in Angola Mozambiue Namibia Zimbabwe.

When a Crocodile Eats the Sun A Memoir of Africa PDF
  • Hardcover
  • 344 pages
  • When a Crocodile Eats the Sun A Memoir of Africa
  • Peter Godwin
  • English
  • 01 July 2016
  • 9780316158947

10 thoughts on “When a Crocodile Eats the Sun A Memoir of Africa

  1. says:

    For me personally I think this is the saddest book I have ever readWritten by a superbly evocative writer Africa commentator and renowned journalistPeter Godwin it details the trials of people living in Zimbabwe between 1996 and 2003 Parallel to this it is also a memoir of his family at this time particularly his parents who lived and worked in Zimbabwe for most of their adult lives They dedicated their lives to this country His mother was a doctor who worked in a local hospital until she was 75 because there was no one to replace her Both his parents were utterly committed to Zimbabwe and refused to leave even when life there got incredibly tough and threateningWith masterful finesse Godwin peels back the veneer of civilization that so many of us take for granted and exposes the brutal realities of life in a failed state Most of all he discusses the lives of those who were once the leaders of that society the white ex patsnow being persecuted and often savagely beaten up The mind boggles as to what life must be like for those at the bottom of the pecking order Those most vulnerable seem to be the Zimbabweans who worked on white farms and often remained loyal to their employers Except what price loyalty when life is brutalizing and threatening and survival is tenuous? Godwin shows several people who turned upon their employers simply because life was untenable if they did not do so In August 2002 alone there were 80000 displaced farm workersHe shows us a government absolutely rife with corruption nepotism and lies Mugabe is letting his people starve yet denies these realities in order to keep face He refuses to let foreign food aid through to those parts of Zimbabwe where his political rivals have support The average lifespan of a Zimbabwe man has dropped from 60 years at Independence to 34 years today Mugabe himself lives in extreme luxury Yet the myth of the man as Zimbabwe's liberator lives on When New African magazine surveys its readers to find the top African leaders 'of all time' they rate Mugabe third behind Nelson Mandela and Kwame Nkrumah First President of GhanaHe also discusses what it is like to be an ex colonial and the guilt perplexities and ruminations that this involves It is sometimes said that the worst thing to happen to Africa was the arrival of the white man And the second worst thing was his departure Colonialism lasted just long enough to destroy much of Africa's indigenous culture and traditions but not long enough to leave behind a durable replacement I would add also that we yes I too am an ex colonial white South African we did virtually nothing to help educate people in the new culture and technology we brought with us and that was a terrible curse that we placed upon them In fact we did all we could to keep them uneducated in these matters Godwin's bitterness surfaces most of all when he discusses his feelings about Cape Townview spoiler I always wanted to love Cape TownI tried to live there but after six months I gagged on its isolation from the rest of the continent It doesn't feel like the rest of Africa It sometimes feels to me as though Cape Town might also serve as the white man's last redoubt where our vanguards will hold back the onslaughtthe black perilwhile our women and children board lifeboats out to the tall ships in False Bay ships that will take us back to England and Holland and France and Germany or to ex colonies where we have conveniently decimated the indigenous inhabitants to North America and the Antipodes hide spoiler

  2. says:

    Peter Goodwin writes a detailed memoir of his life in Zimbabwe his father's history as a Jew in disguise and the turmoil of his Zimbabwean heritage as a white member of a minority group The story is comprehensive in that it touches on all the aspects although not in tedious details defining Africa as it is today and how it came about He includes a lot of details of various aspects of the madness happening in Zimbabwe which he derived from various articles he wrote for different media outlets But then he includes his family's personal history to remain true to the memoir format of the book He also draws a comparison to the holocaust events of what is happening to whites in Zimbabwe I was constantly aware that the events were treated as journalistic exercises However it is a sad report on how uickly a country turned from a food basket to a dust bowl when things went wrong When I am back in New York Africa immediately seems fantastical a wildly plumaged bird as exotic as it is nlikely Most of us struggle in life to maintain the illusion of control but in Africa that illusion is almost impossible to maintain I always have the sense there that there is no euilibrium that everything perpetually teeters on the brink of some dramatic change that society constantly stands poised in some spasm some tsunami in which you can do nothing but hope to bob up to the surface and not be sucked out into a dark and hungry sea The origin of my permanent sense of unease my general foreboding is probably the fact that I have lived through just such change such as sudden and violent upending of value systemsDifferent readers obviously focus on different aspect of the story There are many reviews on Goodreads providing other insights into the story I don't want to add yet another comment on the actual content of the book but would rather prefer to look at the underlying message in the book about human rights and how selectively it is applied to different situations in the world Africa is a place where calculated acts of cultural and racial genocide combined with xenophobia take on totally different colors than the officially defined Let's summarize the actual official definition of human rights first and then look at the story from different perspectivesHUMAN RIGHTSIn the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Preamble the following statements are made Source United Nations Department of Public Information NY Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the eual and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom justice and peace in the world Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common peopleWhereas it is essential if man is not to be compelled to have recourse as a last resort to rebellion against tyranny and ppression that human rights should be protected by the rule of law Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the eual rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve in cooperation with the United Nations the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedomsWhereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledgeREAD MOREWho really has the teeth to address this issue? Not the UN where Russia and China sanction any actions against their 'friends' The two countries whose human rights records stink up the universe have the veto right on itFROM A COMMUNIST PERSPECTIVEComparing the events in Zimbabe actually everywhere in Africa where landowners of different colors have been expropriated in different waysmostly violent murders to the events in all countries where Communism took over the absolutely shocking horror and atrocities used in executing the decision the evidence of similar patrons is spread all over the place In the case of Zimbabwe and South Africa as well although subtle the modus operandi is Maoistic than Stalanistic with all the cruelties included of Mao's believes and conduct But Wole Soyinka the Nobel prize winning Nigerian writer P266 compares the Zimbabwean land reform program with Stalin's land collectivization in Soviet Russia designed to get rid of the kulaks the pre revolutionary commercial farmers whom he saw as a political threat A much accurate comparison in my opinion can be drawn with Máo's land reform in which landgrabbers were instructed to kill and take whatever they wanted It is very well illustrated in the book ' Wild Swans three daughters of China' by Jung Chang I can add for shock value the photos of the genocidal slaughtering because that is what it is of the white farmers and their families in both countries but the reader can find thousands of it on the internet There are hundreds of organizations trying to create awareness and attract attention to these senseless barbaric murders But the world is officially turning a blind eye Unofficially little is done For instance white refugees are not handled the same way as other refugee under international law As soon as a white person apply for refugee status an uproar is stage and the sympathy is shifted to the offended black regime who claim to be victims of prejudice as well as colonization and hidden racist agendas They are uick to add that they cannot be held responsible for some citizens who want to take revenge And so some people back down But countries such as China are not interested in what happens inside the walls of the house being plundered for their hungry economy They simply subsidize Zimbabwe's government expenses and keep Mugabe in power for their own ends And this way many eyes from countries that need Africa's wealth turn many blind eyes After all who wants to be accused of being fascist thugs?FROM A WORLD PERSPECTIVEWith just about the entire world dependent on Africa's wealth of resources the outcome of Africa's history is determined by corporations and political big wigs with their hands in the cookie jars In order of importance Human Rights are so irrelevant it is considered to be like a small asthmatic fish dying on dry land no matter how noble the intentions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights have been There are much bigger fish to catch in this vast ocean of African wealth which demands much attention and promises much profitsFROM AN AFRICAN PERSPECTIVEWhat started out as a noble idea of liberating Africa from thousands of years of oppression ended up in a cesspool of a carefully selected cleptrocratic nepotistic group of despots raping the continent's wealth and keeping themselves in power with barbaric clamp downs on the inhabitants For every white person being murdered another five Africans are killed by their own governments for opposing these mafiosos in power I found the Goodwin book a true version of events accurate insightful and well executed Being a memoir it discusses a family's situation in which their basic human rights have been severely compromised The hardships they had to face emotionally as well as physically are heart wrenching Godwin also touches on colonialism as a contributing factor to the current violence on whites P 153 It is sometimes said that the worst thing to happen to Africa was the arrival of the white man And the second worst was his departure Colonialism lasted just long enough to destroy much of Africa's indigenous cultures and traditions but not long enough to leave behind a durable replacementP 155 When the first Europeans arrive in Africa they bring their territorial imperative with them And once the dust settles from the Scramble for Africa the continent finds itself sliced up into bizarre and arbitrary shapes Kilimanjaro for instance is given by ueen Victoria as a birthday present to her cousin the Kaiser because she has two snow capped African peaks and he has none Many of these new states lump together ancient antagonists cut across cultural and economic hinterlands Europeans take Africa by the scruff of its neck and shake the bejesus into it knocking it clear of its cultural fulcrum by doing good things and bad on so many frons religion trade infrastructure health Societies that are built on the mathematical fundamentals of women giving birth to twelve in order to bring two or three to maturity suddenly find themselves with five seven nine children and all the attendant cultural chaos Europeans entice them to want stuff soap clothes bicycles radios stoves; turn then into impoverished consumers; co opt their chiefs tax them and compel them to leave home to labour for wagesHuman rights and euality for all was one of the major ideals of Nelson Mandela But his love for people became the main reason why he was shunted onto a sideline by the members of his party who craved a ride on the gravy train and pushed everything and anyone out of the way that apposed their greed Modern Africa was never a haven for human rights although it was suppose to be If it was there would not have been so many millions of Africans fleeing their own countries to particularly Europe and America as well as South Africa So much so that it is currently creating huge challenges for the host countries The black on black violence is much worse in scope and numbers as well compared to the white genocideSo if you are interested in basic Human Rights and what it really should mean you can read this book If you want to read about the African story this is one true version of the events And after you have read it you will have to decided where you stand on the Human Rights issue how selectively you are in your own application of it  Should it only apply to groups you have sanctioned? But just as a human interest story This book is a beautiful book written in elouent prose I am not so impressed with the choice of title though It might allow an exotic touch to the story it is an eye catcher but for me does not apply really to the situation The reason being that these atrocities are happening on a daily basis and have been doing so for centuries It is not a once off occurrence Five stars for the guts it took to write this detailed version of an African love story gone wrong In my opinion it is the basic human right of everyone to tell hisher story It is the only way a complete version of history can be recorded It is another way of demonstrating greed in all its different disguises This book made a valuable contribution The most important message to me personally in this book lies in the proof it provides that throughout human history cruelty has not been limited to one creed or color There simply are no saints in the saga of human existenceI wanted to read this book for months now It was lying here waiting I was expecting it to be a good counter balance for African Laughter Four Visits to Zimbabwe by Doris Lessing It was What Lessing failed to acknowledge was it deliberate omission perhaps of the horrendous atrocities? in her book as a result of the revolt fueled by communism which she promoted in Zimbabwe in her earlier involvement in the country's politics Godwin has added in clinical detail It was needed

  3. says:

    This book will haunt you It haunts me I was in a hotel room in Chicago trying to get ready for an early morning conference session I was watching “Morning Joe” on MSNBC when Peter Godwin came on I was not familiar with him but listening to him talk about Zimbabwe intrigued me Despite purloining 8 million vendor pens at the vendor hall the previous day I could not uickly locate a pen and paper to write down the title of his book Thanks goodness for technology I grabbed my Blackberry and sent myself an e mail with the book title and author’s name Once home I ordered the book and sat it on my “to read” pile for about a monthI started reading “Crocodile” mid week I read a few pages and had to put it down I just didn’t have the time to keep reading Friday afternoon I picked it up again and promptly cancelled my plans for the evening I could not bear to stop reading Peter’s story as well as his father’s story has so many twists and turns I almost forgot I was reading non fiction I felt as though he pulled me into his lifeHis story made me laugh at times say “aha” at times but mainly it made me weepSome books make me tear up—tears form in the corners of my eyes and usually fall down my face at some point but it’s just a tear or twoSome books make me cry—mutiple tears falling simultaneously while my nose runs to the point I have to either put the book down and get a tissue or and please don’t tell anyone I do this keep reading the book and use my sleeve Very few books make we weep—cry to the point I have no choice but to set the book aside find a box of tissues and weep nearly uncontrollablyThis book made we weep Multiple times I wept for the people of Zimbabwe and their struggles I wept for the inhumanity of the leaders and “wovits” I wept for the personal losses suffered by the Godwins Sometimes I wept because I was simply overwhelmed by all of itThough Godwin writes this book in a fairly detached manner it evoked a very strong emotional reaction in me I still can’t wrap my brain around “Crocodiles” because it is living in my heart

  4. says:

    The author Peter Godwin grew up as a white Zimbabwean just like Alexandra Fuller author of Don't Lets Go to the Dogs tonight He brilliantly shares his experience living under Robert Mugabe who has been the country's dicator since the 1970's My problem however is how he portrays his parents and their near saintliness They arewere clearly warm people with an impressive degree of moral courage But he never addresses the fact that Zimbabwe formerly Rhodesia was a European colony before Mugabe and suffered accordingly under white rule He never seems to uestion why there was so much opposition to the white settlers who had the best farmland and his own parents included black servants While I thouroughly enjoyed Godwin's gorgeous writing I was freuently frustrated with his reluctance to address the oppression of the blacks which continues to haunt the countryGodwin is the better writer but I preferred Fuller's book Her Zimbabwe is just as frightening and beautiful But she never withdraws judgement throughout her book Her approach lends greater credibilityPlease note I'm not arguing that Mugabe's monstrous behavior towards any of his subjects is justifiable But Zimbabwean independence is a much complex issue than Godwin acknowleges

  5. says:

    Some of Prince Biyela's people the Zulus and the Vendas too believe that a solar eclipse occurs when a crocodile eats the sun This celestial crocodile they say briefly consumes our life giving star as a warning that he is much displeased with the behavior of man below It is the very worst of omensThe title of this memoir foreshadows the uproot of life for the Godwin family during Zimbabwe's upheaval Peter Godwin has written for many major publications like New York Times Magazine and National Geographic I don't know personally about his reporting but I enjoyed his writing in this memoir There are many books that emerged from the former Rhodesia Zimbabwe that I've personally had difficulty reading because of the tone Godwin has a great blend of subjectivity and objectivity even at those moments when it gets deeply personal for himLand ownership was once something sacred in Zimbabwe Farmers communally prepared the land and when the land became exhausted they moved to the next patch Buying land was foreign and akin to buying the wind or the water or the trees When the first white pioneer struck a deal with an African elder to get gold the confusion began because the elder did not think he was giving up rights to the land Even though whites made up only 1 percent of the population they soon owned than half of Zimbabwe's agricultural land This problem formed the foundation for Zimbabwe's Civil WarGodwin's parents white African immigrants were caught in the middle of the storm that followed Zimbabwe went from white rule to black rule under Prime Minister Mugabe Later Mugabe's political greed and narcissism would take him on a spin of unfair elections and unfair treatment to farmers Mugabe ignited the nationalists and war vets or wovits who wanted to take their country back by any means necessary The destruction that followed is heartrending and is unfortunately one of many tales of Africa's struggle after colonialism Godwin's story of his father is one that reinforces empathy through each section as the deepening of this relationship becomes a life lesson for both reader and writerThere is also something deeply universal that should resonate with any immigrant or exile any survivor of war or victim of displacement; anyone who has experienced the loss of homeland and family one who knows what it is to dream in native language and not hear it daily; anyone who has resolved that he or she will never fully feel at home anywhere but may make home everywhere When an African has lived through the loss of a country's values the lens out of which to view sometimes becomes blurredMost of us struggle in life to maintain the illusion of control but in Africa that illusion is almost impossible to maintain I always have the sense there that there is no euilibrium that everything perpetually teeters on the brink of some dramatic change that society constantly stands poised for some spasm some tsunami in which you can do nothing but hope to bob up to the surface and not be sucked out into a dark and hungry sea The origin of my permanent sense of unease my general foreboding is probably the fact that I have lived through just such change such a sudden and violent upending of value systemsSome fiction on Zimbabwe that I have also enjoyed are Maraire's Zenzele A Letter for My Daughter and Vera's Without a Name and Under the Tongue

  6. says:

    I have just finished reading When a Crocodile Eats the Sun and am assuaging the tears with a good glass of Johnny Black and a CD of my favourite ballet classicsguaranteed to calm me down There are so many reasons why I cried I cried for times past and in fear of times to come I cried because of the similarities I come from a pan African family my brothers born in Zim me in Malawi and my sister in Zambia Daddy was a soldier and a traveling man I cried when you described your father's cremation My brother Rod who was in the BSAP during the last years of the civil war died in Gaborone in 2000 He was cremated at the Hindu crematorium because it was the only operational one in Gabs then He died ostensibly from complications from a botched appendicectomy but when I spoke to his surgeon a week after his death his words to me were every time we took your brother to theatre to clean him we removed a little shrapnel you might well say the war killed him but only 20 years later I cried too for my Africa and the fact that as a 3rd 4th generation African I am often both subtly and less subtly told in a myriad of ways daily that this continent is not my home and that I must go home to a land that is so foreign to me that the very thought scares me beyond belief

  7. says:

    Godwin tries too hard to tacitly excuse himself and other whites who stayed on in Zimbabwe after majority rule He glosses over fighting on the wrong side of Zimbabwe's war for independence and never properly uestions his privileged upbringing and the British status uo Most of the examples he employs to gain our sympathy involve white farmers loosing their land and family photographs; the stories that include native Africans often end with them stealing something or running away For someone who attempts to represent Africa to a western audience this seems rather bad formStill Godwin does a good job of chronicling Zimbabwe's demise under the increasingly autocratic rule of Robert Mugabe and the manifold challenges that everyday Zimbabweans face to survive Godwin even goes into detail about the repression and violence that Mugabe's regime uses to stay in power but he's subtle too subtle about his criticism of it Even his stories about the opposition usually include the appearances of white Zimbaweans 'When a Crocodile East the Sun' is worth reading for the inside view it offers us of a nation's collapse but not for the author's politics

  8. says:

    This is a bittersweet recount of the author childhood to adulthood as a Brit whose parents also Brit's in ZimbabweIt detailed all the complexities of the black and white relationship sometime was harmonious at other time strained with a lots of love hate interactions laced with conflict and bloody violenceWhile the white population composed of mostly farmers were subjected to mob injustice for which I abhor but I can understand if not sympathize to the indignation of the natives whose ancestor land was occupied by the Brit's no matter what benefit brought to their country by the whiteNo amount of money can be used to exchange to any country regardless of any and all considerationsJust because of the native being ignorant of science including the science of governing they must not be stripped of land and other natural resources by the technological advanced Whites together with their human right as noisily propounded but ignored in reality by the U S 's Declaration of Independence the Bill Of Right and the Constitution lofty but again fairy empty in realityTalk about hot airHowever I have a big simpathy for the authorHe found himself in a sorrowful predicament of damn if you do and damn if you don't a father in his old age plagued with constant pain a deceased sister whose grave was disturbed before he settled itThey were surrounded with hostile native who freuently disturbed his familyI admire his stoicism his loving disposition his calmness in the face of hostilityI also admire his parents similar characteristic the characteristic that help them to survive all of the turmoil in their adopted countryOverall a good experienceHightly recommended One hundred stars

  9. says:

    I was debating on whether to read this book When a Crocodile Eats the Sun A Memoir of Africa or the author's book on his childhood growing up in Rhodesia Mukiwa A White Boy in Africafirst This one focuses upon his father's life in Zimbabwe and how he ended up there I believe I made the wrong choice It took me a very long time to care for the family The first third focuses upon political turmoil and history of Rhodesia and how it became Zimbabwe Every chapter is dated The first being July 1996 and the last February 2004 The author grew up in Rhodesia It is evident that he feels himself to be both African as well as an outsider When he writes the book he is living in NYC and is a well paid and recognized journalist writing for magazines such as National Geographic The book follows the author's visits to his homeland and specifically his elderly parents His mother is a doctor and his father a farmer It follows the events that were occurring in Zimbabwe on the given dates The country's and the family's downward spiral are one and the same It is devastating to watch what Robert Mugabe has done to this country By the end I was in tears When I read a book about the political events of a country I want to know how these events play out in people's lives This is exactly what you are given in this bookI want to feel empathy for the people By the end I certainly did but it took a good 100 pages for this to beginThere is little or no humor in the book I found it extremely depressing OK this is the truth of what Mugabe has done to this land but family events that were amusing could have been thrown in In addition I felt that the author added gruesome details scarcely relevant to the story He need not have shown us step by horrible step how Jews met their death at Treblinka Neither did I find the writing particularly outstanding just ordinaryIronically what has united the blacks and whites in Zimbabwe is a shared hatred of Mugabe Along with this book one could read Alexandra Fuller's Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness and Don't Let's Go To The Dogs Tonight An African Childhood These two are less politically explicit and cover events further back in time If you are interested in Mugabe's rule choose When a Crocodile Eats the Sun instead The other two have a completely different tone I could not help but smile as I read them Both authors have shown us their family's secrets and how their lives as whites in Africa were shaped by political events

  10. says:

    45 stars Godwin does an excellent job of combining the personal and political in this gripping memoir He writes about caring for his aging parents who live in Zimbabwe mostly long distance as their country collapses around them On his visits even a trip to the grocery store becomes treacherous He writes about learning that his father is Polish and Jewish not English as he was always told and discovers that most of his father's family died in the Holocaust He also vividly describes the destruction wrought by Mugabe's corrupt regime And Godwin does all this so skillfully and naturally

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