Review: Air Whisperers of Nkandla by Patricia Pike
This was probably the hardest review I've ever written and that is because the author is also my mother. So here is my best go to being completely unbiased.
The Air Whisperers of Nkandla is the most unique story I've read and probably what anyone has read as it is set in South Africa from the point of a Zulu family. My mother grew up in Nkandla area so she has intimate knowledge of the lifestyle and the local stories. This gives her a unique perspective of a part of the world that isn't always addressed in literature. Sure there are stories like the power of one and Wilbur smith's stories but they are written from the perspective of white men and this influences everything including the way the story is told. Though my mother is considered a white South African she was steeped in the local history as even a baby. We all grew up with stories of a great uncle that had dozens of wives because the tribes wouldn't trade with a stranger so they solved the problem by marrying him into the tribe. So at the heart of the story this is a story about Africa and not just a white man's story with a flavour of Africa.
The story is one of magic and intrigue as a Zulu king is gathering together all the magical people with powers to fight in his wars and extend his influence. One of the last tribes of Air Whisperers is hiding in the forests of Nkandla. They are a polygamist family with three wives. Please don't be offended or think this story has anything to do with the difficulties of multiple wives because it isn't. Africa has had polygamy for a long time. Shucks longer than most countries that exist today. So I mention it but it has absolutely nothing to do with the story. This large family though are forced to make a run for it when the Zulu soldiers arrive to take the women off to be forced conscripts for the Zulu army.
The women are the stars of this story. With magical powers and a ruthlessness to kill their enemy they are still a family and they have to stay strong for their husband and children. They head out of the forest and towards the plain where they meet with other tribes with magical powers, just nothing like their own.
This story is a unique and mysterious as the Dark Continent itself. Allowing you to have a glimpse of a world that only those that live in Africa have even seen or experienced. The only critique I would give is that with such a large ensemble cast it is very difficult to get a feel for all the characters. Regardless you get to experience the juxtaposition of technology and superstition that you can only get in Africa. If you don't know what I mean look up "Only in Africa". It is a continent of unique stories and this story is definitely not one you have seen before.
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