Review – Weeding the Flowerbeds – Sarah Mkhonza

30 Oct

Weeding the Flowerbeds
Author: Sarah Mkhonza

Book Description:
Weeding the Flowerbeds is a memoir of boarding school at Manzini Nazarene High School in Swaziland, a country in Southern Africa. In this book Sarah explores life in the boarding school at Manzini Nazarene High School, a school that produced many graduates. She explores life in an educational institution where growing up is takes place under strict hostel rules in the seventies. As young Swazi girls Bulelo, Sisile and Makhosi grow up learning about life and Christianity. They learn to love school and also to appreciate writing and literature. All the time they feel as if they are being pushed in a certain direction and it is one of the teachers Mr. Fields and others who come to the school and make them understand the importance of choosing to be free in ones spirit. With all that education they leave the school and go and live their lives

As I continue my around the world in reading travels, I’ve found it harder and harder to find books for some of the more random countries. Swaziland is one of those countries – no, not Switzerland (I swear, I can spell), but Swaziland, a small country in southern Africa. But when I was browsing other blogs, I found someone else doing an around the world challenge and she also read this book as part of her challenge. It wasn’t an easy book to find (I eventually had to cave and buy it from Amazon), but it was an interesting read.

A fictionalized memoir of three girls in a church run boarding school, it details their adventures over several years, as they progress through the levels prior to graduation. I liked the idea of the book, however, to me the execution was lacking. There was quite a bit of redundancy in the writing (repeating the same information in multiple places in the same chapter) and some times where what is being said is contradicted in the next paragraph (for example, in one paragraph she is doing push-ups, then talking about how she did the best in that set of sit-ups and then back to talking about push-ups). I think this is something that a good editor could have fixed – but as the author is a professor herself, I don’t know how much it was edited prior to release. I do find it interesting that there are very few reviews for the book out there (zero on Amazon, 1 on goodreads – aside from mine).

I think this is a good read if someone is interested in learning about life in the smaller African countries and the role that the various religious organizations have played in the developing nations. however, because of issues that I had with it, I can’t give it more than 2 stars.

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Posted by on October 30, 2012 in Around the World in 80 Books, Book Review


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