Molefe returns home after seven years spent in Europe first as a scholar and then as an African in the Diaspora hoping to materialize his dreams to reality in the blanket of opportunity the new continent seems to be. When he fails dismally, a much needed excuse is needed to provoke him to return home with a shred of dignity. His brother, Puso, has died. “Lefe, as he is affectionately known, is now forced to hold up the mirror that reflects his past, the oddness of the circumstances that made him who he is, and the sometimes cold part of his character that creeps up, to himself and evaluate it all in the excitement of making funeral arrangements for his brother.
Having grown up with his gentle grandmother, who favored him for the simple fact that he had been named after her deceased husband, Molefe later comes to realize and possibly appreciate the simplicity he had been blessed with while growing up in rural Lesotho in the post colonization era. As a young boy he centered his life around running errands for the ailing grandmother, spying on Thembi- a relative, who unbeknownst to herself introduced him to the thrills of adolescence and inspired the young ‘Lefe to go and explore the joys of female interaction on a deeper level…,and running to the convenience store to check for mail that more often than not reported some kind of tragedy, usually death.
For Molefe, life as a child was routine until one day Thembi’s uncles from the country neighboring theirs came to take her on a secret mission, for which she did not want to go. Later on, Molefe would accidentally uncover the reason for her flight, and it seems as though something toward her had changed upon her arrival back from the country neighboring theirs.
The only friend that ‘Lefe ever really had was Twice – named so for his stutter. But he suddenly disappeared on the family that had grown to accept him as one of their own. Although from another country, Twice was loved by all (save for Puso). He was especially well liked and accommodated by Abuti Jefti, an old drunk that had brilliant ideas and had seen the world, but came home with little to show for it and a smaller role to play in his society than he would have liked.
Many years later Twice returns to attend Puso’s funeral, and the circle is almost complete as many people are reunited through this tragedy. He comes with a wife, tales of war and valor, told with the passion that comes with the will of needing to fight for something bigger than one’s self, and a need to leave again. This pokes Molefe to once again consider his next move in life.
Many themes are tackled here, although the central one is death that plagued the people in that time. This is a heart wrenching book in some ways, as issues such as female circumcision and African culture that breaks up families come to light. There are many surprising twists in this read, which make it unforgettable. Unfortunately, there are also many spelling mistakes throughout the book and the author jumps from one scene to another with no clear distinction from the last one. That being said, this is a highly recommended book.
Morabo Morejele holds degrees from London School of Economics and the Institute of Social Sciences in The Hague. He has worked for many organizations and is also a musician.