AFRIKULT.’S OVERALL RATING:
This collection of stories and poems from Beatrice Lamwaka is a powerful contribution to Ugandan literature. Not only does she question the internal politics of Uganda but raises issues that are pertinent the world over. A few of the stories are rooted in the atrocities endured by the Acholi people of Northern Uganda during the time of Joseph Kony and the Lords Resistance Army. The opening story Butterfly Dreams is a short yet formidable read as it conveys the suffering of the individual, the family and society at large as ittries to piece itself back together in the wake of terror and displacement. Focusing on the experiences of abducted children forced into becoming soldiers actively participating in guerrilla warfare, this story beseeches empathy and compassion for the irreparable loss of childhood. Other stories like Pillar of Love, depicts a same sex relationship which is a highly controversial topic in Uganda given that homosexuality is illegal. This thoughtful story questions sexuality, the way couples interact with one another and the meaning of acceptance. Gender is another issue which really comes to the fore in this collection, as traditional gender roles are intelligently challenged, highlighting the sexist limitations of patriarchal society. All in all Lamwaka focuses on various issues ranging from war, the struggle for education, gender to family relationships; as they are all executed with a refreshingly honest tone this is a must read.