[PDF / Epub] ✅ Mukiwa Author Peter Godwin – The Barnes Noble Review January 1998 Mukiwa A White Boy in Africa is the story of Peter Godwin's experiences growing up in Rhodesia He recounts the story of that country's violent transformation into The Barnes Noble Review January Mukiwa A White Boy in Africa is the story of Peter Godwin's experiences growing up in Rhodesia He recounts the story of that country's violent transformation into Zimbabwe as well as his own personal metamorphoses from privileged boy to reluctant soldier to investigative journalist Godwin's story begins I think I first realized something was wrong when our next door neighbor Oom Piet Oberholzer was murdered I must have been about five then It was still five years before the real war would start The Godwins enjoyed a typical genteel existence in rural Rhodesia their household including a garden boy a cook boy and a nanny Peter's father managed a wood and sugarcane processing plant His mother a rural government doctor was often called to pronounce deaths or conduct autopsies for which she brought along her assistant five year old Peter who was responsible for shooing away the flies Godwin's plans for attending college were suashed when he was drafted into the Rhodesian army and assigned to the Anti Terrorist Unit which proved to be an important experience in his life When he later looked at himself he saw a man coursed through with anger and despair It was the face of someone who would kill an unarmed civilian for withholding information Disturbed by what he had become Godwin left Rhodesia after he got out of the army only to return in as a journalist Rhodesia was now Zimbabwe and the terrorists he had reluctantly fought against were now the country's rulers Godwin reported on theutterbrutalities in Zimbabwe and the fate of Matabeleland a black minority region in Zimbabwe He described the army style of interrogation in which before they even began to uestion you they would break one wrist and wrote about the old mines where bodies of the dead were buried When Godwin's writings received worldwide attention the Zimbabwean government tried to discredit him and he received numerous death threats escaping the country just hours before the police came looking for him Mukiwa is not only a memoir but also a compelling adventure story that tells a personal saga that needs to be heard.Mukiwa

Peter Godwin was born and 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 and war correspondent and has reported from over countries including wars in Angola Mozambiue Namibia Zimbabwe.

Paperback  Á Mukiwa Kindle ò
  • Paperback
  • 432 pages
  • Mukiwa
  • Peter Godwin
  • English
  • 03 July 2014
  • 9780802141927

10 thoughts on “Mukiwa

  1. says:

    “In those days we called African men ‘boys’ We had cook boys and garden boys however old they might be African nannies we called girls” I think I uite purposely avoided memoirs written by white Africans I was afraid of their 'good old days' nostalgia and I had no interest in hearing about their blissful colonial childhoodsThis however was nothing like this Even though some reviewers claim the first part of this memoir describes an innocent childhood in Rhodesia I really fail to see just how carefree and innocent it really was It does open with one of the narrator’s earliest memories – that of a murder of his neighbour by African guerrillas and what follows is not recommended for people with delicate stomachsActually what I liked most about this book was that Godwin didn’t try romanticise his Rhodesian childhood He didn’t try to trivialise or ignore the instances of racism to make himself look better His narrative voice is that of a child and is not allowed a hindsightThat is not to say there aren’t any cute and entertaining episodes like the story of the author’s dog Sally a Dalmatian that was at first confused with a leopard and then routinely kidnapped once people realised bringing her back would earn them a little money in rewardAs the narrator grows his voice changes making the book better and richer It ends up being good at so many different things that it confuses the internet recommendation algorithms which tell you that ‘if you liked this you should try that’ As a very young soldier Godwin found himself fighting for the side he didn’t agree with morally Growing up is always paired with disillusionment – but especially if you’re conscripted and have to take part in a war you don't believe in This part of ‘Mukiwa’ is marked by Godwin’s proper racial awakening and the loss of innocence I particularly remember a powerful scene when Godwin spots a graffiti on a hut “Hate us and see if we mind” which then hunts him in his dreams in which he tries to scream back “but I don’t hate you”At the same time the reader can observe how easy it is for anyone even the most liberal of us to turn into a trigger happy half animal concerned only with its own survivalThe last part of the book deals with the difficult patching up process after the end of the civil war and Godwin’s aborted law career and it’s possibly the most bitter of all the chapters Godwin keeps writing books about Zimbabwe Sadly so far none of them were allowed happy endings “When they returned from the war many of the guerrillas had kept on their chimurenga nom de guerre names as badges of honour ‘Lookout’ was pretty benign compared to some The Minister of Women’s Affairs was a formidable lady who still went by the name of Comrade Spillblood”

  2. says:

    About 3 years ago I tried this author’s other book The Fear Robert Mugabe and the Martyrdom of Zimbabwe but really struggled to get into the highly political story This one however was much easier to connect with as it was written in the form of a memoir following the author’s childhood in Zimbabwe his subseuent stint in the army and finally his time as a lawyer and journalist during the change of government in the 1980’sI have to say my favourite sections were that of his childhood Particularly when young Peter's nanny brought him to the Apostolic church His childhood memories reminded me a little of The Last Resort A Memoir of Zimbabwe which is hands down my favourite book of ZimbabweAs Peter got older and got forced to serve time in the military the narrative changed – as expected – to provide insight into the politics and guerrilla warfare that happened all over Zimbabwe How the locals suffered stuck between the military and guerrillas with no relief from either sideI found it uite ironic that as a lawyer he had to defend the same war criminals he fought against in the armyAs with all the books I read about Zimbabwe there are moments of hope but also many many accounts of atrocities with no one coming out the winner

  3. says:

    OK close enough to the end of 2017 for me to determine my favourite reads Mukiwa is my 2017 BEST BIOGRAPHYThis is a fantastically well written autobiography It really puts a human face to the white Zimbabwean's who are stereotyped as racist bigots seen as on the wrong side of the black majoritywhite minority history of RhodesiaZimbabweGodwin's recollection of his childhood and the writing style he employs for this section of the book is perfect He writes the way he felt interpreted events and experienced his childhood not a recent interpretation of those events It is very well done And not an innocent childhood it was a childhood you would consider harsh and in some aspects he grew up very uickly the murder of a local man and experiences with his mother a doctor often called on to perform autopsies which as a child he attended There are some genuinely hilarious moments in the first half of this bookUnfortunately for Godwin this all changes with the civil war which starts out as terrorist attacks rebellions and soon turns into war proper Godwin like all Rhodesians is drafted in to the military and the second part of his book tells of his military service And a very capable soldier he turns out to be but a soldier with a rare compassion and understanding of the problems Again the author writes incredibly well in articulating a complex situation he finds himself inThis book does well to explain in simple terms the Rhodesian rebellion civil war It was not as simple as a black rebellion against the white minority There were factions the ZAPU led by Joshua Nkomo and the ZANU led by Robert Mugabe who were are much fighting each other as the Rhodesian Security Forces whom Godwin fought for For years he petitioned to be released from military service to attend University and finally he was permitted an exit visa A sad family event followed for which Godwin returned only to be told he must re inlist to complete his serviceFinally he was again allowed to leave to complete his University whereupon he embarked on a short career as a lawyer then moved into journalism where he was posted to various parts of the world which are given around a page in this book His return to southern Africa as a journalist is described in the third part of the book More than a journalist Godwin regularly puts himself at risk and in danger to be able to report the atrocities in Zimbabwe as it was now know the systematic campaign of murder and torture striving to tell the truth and expose the propaganda and lies of the government Some of the stories he tells in this section are a terrible reflection of the way the human race can behaveWhat becomes obvious throughout this book as the stories unfold and interweave where Godwin has some absolutely miraculous escapes is that his past deeds and behaviour seem to come back to reward him with opportunities and good fortune His past relationships his past actions and some incredible luck mean he is alive to tell this storyI enjoyed this book a lot despite is grizzly content and I will seek out of his writing5 stars

  4. says:

    Peter Godwin certainly has a story to tell It’s a story of an idyllic if unusual childhood a disrupted but eventually immensely successful education military service and then two careers one in law planned but aborted and then one in journalism discovered almost by default Listed like this these elements might sound just a bit mundane perhaps not the subject of memoir When one adds however the location Rhodesia becoming Zimbabwe the result is a deeply moving in places deeply sad as well as uite disturbing account of a life lived thus far Mukiwa by the way is Shona for white manThe setting for Peter Godwin’s early years was a middle class professional and crucially liberal family living in eastern Rhodesia close to the Mozambiue border I had relatives in that same area near Umtali and Melsetter and they used to do exactly what the Godwins did regularly which was to visit the Indian Ocean beaches near Beira We used to get postcards from there every year usually in the middle of our north of England winter Envy wasn’t the wordPeter Godwin’s mother was a doctor and this meant that his childhood was unusual in two respects Not many youngsters in white households had liberal minded parents and even fewer helped their mothers conduct post mortems Unlike most mukiwa Peter Godwin had black friends He learned the local language and got to know the bush He also grew up close to death and then lived alongside it during the years of the war of independence He describes how the war simply took over everything and labels himself as a technician in its machinations It’s a telling phrase admitting that he did not himself want to fight anyone Like everyone else he was caught up in the struggle reuired to actively perpetrate the violence and that is what he didHis education was disrupted His family life was effectively destroyed And how he managed to keep his sanity during the period I have no idea He served most of the period in Matebeleland alongside other members of the Rhodesian armed forces and police who were not to say the least as liberal as he was So in some ways he was already doubly a foreigner in that he was working in an area where he could not speak the language and was accompanied by fellow countrymen with whom he shared no beliefs or ideals And yet he had to fightI have never served in a war and hope I never will But my relatives from the same area as Peter Godwin were also called up into national service and also fought the war I had not seen them for fifteen years or so when we met after they along with many thousands of others as recorded by Peter Godwin had already fled south But for them also memories of war were deep and resented scars It was a bloody and dirty war where if you were lucky you could at most trust your closest colleagues It was a vicious conflict at times and left everyone angry No one won Everyone sufferedHaving eventually achieved the education he sought Peter Godwin attempted to launch a legal career But then almost by default he became a reporter After independence he learned of atrocities perpetrated by the Zambabwean army in the area where he had served during the war He investigated He reported And then on advice he fledBut he did eventually return to all of the areas he knew and the last part of the book is a moving and deeply sad account of how little he recognised in the places he loved as a child But within this there is a moment of hope as he meets a former freedom fighter and with humour and new friendship the two of them realise that they had not only been enemies but had actually been two commanders trying to kill one another on opposite sides of the same skirmishBut in the end Peter Godwin is changed man and his home and homeland at least as he had experienced them were no War had changed everything and everyone No one won

  5. says:

    My boyfriend's Dad grew up in Zimbabwe about the same time as this author and gave this book to my boyfriendPete as the closest example of how his life was growing up Pete gave it to me after watching me try to read a series of autobiographies on the same subject which just weren't that greatGodwin is a journalist and writes in the journalist style I can never decide if I like but it's an interesting book and offers tons of info on Zim in the 70sMy Dad recently returned from South Africa and brought me Godwin's newest book not knowing about this one It's focus is Zim in the last several years and even though it is also written in that journalistic prose I can't read it with dry eyes

  6. says:

    Something for Nothing; Nothing for SomethingIf you were to get yourself run over by a train then you would probably blame than the caboose If I were to continue my analogy you could feel justified in going beyond the cars and engine to the track itself and even the railroad men who laid the track In this captivating memoir Peter Godwin writes and narrates the audio about his life growing up in the former Rhodesia Southern Africa But he does so in an honest way that looks as much to the world within his own skin as to that outside his own skin Ultimately it is a tale of the flip side of colonization Since Godwin's focus is from within his own life it may be helpful for the reader to check out a few other sources for some very basic Wikipedia level details to understand some of the events happening in the book Godwin is not teaching or preaching He is living the story as it unfolds This is what makes it well captivating as I said before Here you watch a boy of any color skin grow up in the land in which he was born from his mother's womb After all is said and done you see his homeland taken away from his people; the street names changed to those of 'criminals and murderers' who had risen against their government And so history has repeated itself there in his own land For it was his own people who had earlier taken the land from the race of criminals and murderers who now ruledIt's a little complex than that but you get the idea Various people groups take any piece of country and they treat the previous owners with whatever injustice they choose That land belonged to black tribes originally then to the Crown of England Then the South Rhodesian party of Ian Smith rebelled against the ueen when all of Rhodesia was ordered to share rule between the black and white Africans North Rhodesia became Zambia Then the south was just Rhodesia under Ian's rebel government In the eighties different parties of guerillas fought against Smith and eventually Robert Mugabe's party won the war Instead of peace and brotherhood his subseuent rule of the now called Zimbabwe brought bloodshed and human rights violations What is surprising is Peter Godwin's ability to look honestly at the ethnic problems from both sides of the color line He recounts in detail how the black tribes were treated under Ian Smith He even reveals uite candidly how he became sick the first time he attended the medical examination of the corpse of a white woman as an adult policeman This was after a childhood of following his Medical Examiner mother around to autopsies where he helped her shoo away the flies after the bodies were exhumed for cause of death investigations uite frankly the death of people of his own race made much of an impact on him You see this again during the war when his civilian sister is killed in a roadway military ambush caught in the crossfire His family is devastated Yet he has seen literal carnage everyday at work perpetrated on black civilians by the military and policeAn animal with mud on his hooves is assumed to have been to the watering holeThroughout the book and even in the last words you can read the author's guiltiness for much that happened around him and for the things he witnessed and in which he participated This is particularly evident in a poignant statement he made about what it was like at first after the war ended and the country was under black rule again For the first time we were enjoying the country without a conscience You could easily replace the word conscience with the word guilt in this uote His point is that a person's conscience is all that is to prevent him from treating badly those the government deem under his own class With a life of no responsibility comes little guilt As Kenneth Vickery said in one of his 'The African Experience' Great Courses lectures on the contemporary crisis in Zimbabwe the hallmark of settler colonies was the seizing of African land This was occupied land that was taken back But it fell victim to much corruption or a government where citizens expect bribery 'something for something or nothing for nothing' This is the point behind my reference in the title of this review The Afrikaners took the land for nothing and the Africans received nothing for all the something they lostThis story is really worth a read for anyone who wants to know what life in Africa might be like in any African country It's a simple read too It shares much of the cultures I read this for my stop in Zimbabwe on my Journey Around the World for 2019 2020 My next stop is in Zambia to the north

  7. says:

    This book is divided into three sections The first is about the author’s upbringing in what was then Rhodesia – the relationship to his parents and sister schooling – the normal kind of stuff – except with a Rhodesian angle There is a slowly escalating violence but white Rhodesians continue to believe in the bubble they inhabit – unable to view life outside of this paradigmThe writing throughout is matter of fact and reads well almost like a novel The second section concerns his recruitment for the police but this is really like a paramilitary group The author comes to realize and the moral uandary he finds both within himself and the country he was born in All is on a slow fuse and we sense his futility in trying to maintain a status uo that is insupportable and is perpetuating needless violenceThe third part is about his return to what is now Zimbabwe and was the most interesting part of the autobiography He is now both lawyer and journalist His observations and explorations of his new country are poignantIn general I found the first two parts somewhat filled with too many details like the schooling – both public education and police instruction One is left with the feeling throughout of seeing a lot of trees in the forest but not getting a general overview of what the forest is likeMy favourite uote in the book page 127 of my edition “The axe forgets but not the tree”

  8. says:

    This is book 1 of 4 that were loaned to me by a good couple near where I reside As a continuous student of history I came into this book with no knowledge of the former nation of Rhodesia – and came away with an understanding and appreciation of the nation of Zimbabwe The road one travels within this memoir is reflective educational spiritual and factual to the point of existence for this author his childhood family teen years and young adult life This book deserves a written review that is both honorable to its core and principled to the value to which the author knowingly provided information to multitudes of people across the globe There are many like me who have no compass bearing of historical significance to this location on our earth I have come away with the most elementary knowledge of words and phrases in the Shona tongue among other languages indigenous to the area Just when I thought the book would lull into some pace of normalcy it picks up almost immediately and one heads down a path of exceptional experience Most of the reading felt like riding a Land Rover through parts of sub Saharan Africa in much the same way one rides through the desert in Lower Egypt This book is that sort of book if you are looking for adventure and truth then your committed challenge is to read this book This review is an honest attempt to avoid the particulars within this workPeter Godwin is born to parents in Rhodesia who are from the UK His mother is a Doctor and his father is an Engineer of everything to put it mildly Mr Godwin is born in 1957 and it is on 11 November 1965 where the adult reflects upon life later whereby he discovered that everything changed on that date for Rhodesia As a boy for the time being life would continue and his Doctor Mum would take him on what could be viewed as Medical Expeditions or rather an early version of Doctors Without Borders to vast local regions to help prevent diseases curable at that time frame for masses of people; however these same people have little to no access He would assist his mother in providing sugar cubed measles prevention medicine to children and ensure that each had swallowed their medicine by asking each child to open hisher mouth and stick out their tongues This brought an honest smile to my face as I crossed these pages as in my own mind it was the good heart of a child helping children to stay healthy It was also a point for endearment to the author as he became older On one later escapade during the after effects of the Civil War this act of kindness would also save his life and keep him from prison by a War Lord A truly wonderful discovery for me in this book was the fact that Mr Godwin informs the reader that he was 14 years of age and still had not watched any form of television He kills a Cape Eagle Owl and you will have to read as to what occurs following that event Mukiwa is described; however I will not allude to the author’s delivery of meaning – I will say I was uite taken and fully appreciate in terms the meaning It made me chuckle a bitThe change that does come to former Rhodesia by way of Civil War is filled with all the political intrigues and border issues that occur to any nation that has been impacted by war I couldn’t help but think of the American Southwest in current day frame of mind open borders and the illegitimate loss of order would reign down this sort of activity that one reads as described by Mr Godwin One begins to see the devastation both locally and personal to Mr Godwin and his family His “way out” becomes an acceptance to Cambridge University and though he never returns to Rhodesia he does return to his beloved Zimbabwe Beloved in that Mr Godwin loves his country but does not love what is happening to some of its most innocent victims both white and black alike It is in choices along the way the Mr Godwin never takes the path of least resistance he continually makes the best choices based on his love of family and country; there are times he uestions the intent of the political framework both previous to and after the Civil War The mess apparently continues forward with his next book When A Crocodile Eats the Sun This book is a wonderful journey – you will come away knowledgeable than before if you like me have little historical reference to RhodesiaZimbabwe and the sub Saharan continent in general

  9. says:

    I had no idea what I was reading when I picked up this book I think I expected a coming of age story filled with lots of memories of the author's early years in Zimbabwe And I certainly got that His memories of early life with his nanny and the other servants as well as his times in school reveal a sensitive child who struggles at times to understand the brutality of the world around him At the same time he has a comfort and detachment with death that comes from having a mother whose work involves at times digging up graves He lived a fascinating childhood and this book is filled wit interesting well told storiesWhat I didn't expect was to read of his time in the war that broke out when he was in his late teens There are hints of fighting all around the edges of his childhood but once the narrative turns to his calling up in the military we get an up close look at his experiences with war This wasn't the Zimbabwe that I wanted to read about but it was probably the Zimbabwe that I needed to read about Some of the stories from this time period as well as those that come after he is a journalist are hard to read There are some brutal atrocities in here and as with much of war I find the fighting to be cruel and without purpose In many cases it is hard to know who is on what side at one point late in the book he meets up with a soldier who was on the other side in one of this skirmishes Godwin prepares a speech to say how he didn't want to fight and he was young but the other man shushes him by saying We were both soldiers And that was that as though war is a thing that men go out to do and when it is over they come home and tell stories of their exploits I'm learning this year that when you read the world you need to be prepared to read of great joy and great suffering This book has both in abundance

  10. says:

    A very interesting read I don't know how atypical Peter Godwin is; the son of liberalprogressive parents in rural Rhodesia he grew up accompanying his doctor mother to road accidents and post mortems and his black nanny to Apostolic church meetings where he was the only white The first part of the book covering his childhood until he leaves school is both touching and funny Part 2 is an abrupt change of scene covering the 18 months or so he spent after school as a young conscript in the Rhodesian army after Ian Smith's declaration of independence and the black rebellion against it As you'd expect this is harsh and brings home yet again the futility of war perhaps especially civil war and that although you may start out with principles war will eventually corrupt you and you will be committing or at least complicit in the same injustices and atrocities you once railed againstGodwin eventually escapes amazingly unscathed to Cambridge where he trains as a lawyer Part 3 covers his return to Zimbabwe where he is involved in the defence at a treason trial which sadly reveals that the new government is not above using the same tricks as the old one the defendants acuitted are promptly locked up again under emergency powers inherited from Smith Disgusted with the law Godwin becomes an investigative journalist risking life and limb to uncover government sanctioned mass slaughterIt's a bit gung ho at times with some episodes that read like a thriller making you wonder if it could really have happened like that But overall it reads as a sincere and rather embittered insider's look at the mess that is Zimbabwe still suffering from the same ills almost 40 years on Well worth reading

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