A shocking true story of contemporary slavery: a young girl, snatched from her tribal village in Africa, survives enslavement in Sudan and London before making a courageous escape to freedom.
Mende Nazer lost her childhood at age twelve, when she was sold into slavery. It all began one horrific night in 1993, when Arab raiders swept through her Nuba village, murdering the adults and rounding up thirty-one children, including Mende.
She was sold to a wealthy Arab family who lived in Sudan's capital city, Khartoum. So began her dark years of enslavement. Her Arab owners called her "Yebit," or "black slave." She called them "master." She was subjected to appalling physical, sexual, and mental abuse. She slept in a shed and ate the family leftovers like a dog. She had no rights, no freedom, and no life of her own.
Normally, Mende's story never would have come to light. But seven years after she was seized and sold into slavery, she was sent to work for another master--a diplomat working in the United Kingdom. In London, she managed to make contact with other Sudanese, who took pity on her. In September 2000, she made a dramatic break for freedom.
Slave is a story almost beyond belief. It depicts the strength and dignity of the Nuba tribe. It recounts the savage way in which the Nuba and their ancient culture are being destroyed by a secret modern-day trade in slaves. Most of all, it is a remarkable testimony to one young woman's unbreakable spirit and tremendous courage.
The day that changed my life forever started with a beautiful dawn. I greeted the sunrise by facing east and making the first of my five daily prayers to Allah. It was the spring of 1994, at the end of the dry season. I was about twelve years old (our tribe keep no record of birthdays). After prayers, I got ready to go to school. It would take me an hour to walk there and an hour back again. I was studying hard because I wanted to be a doctor when I grew up.
This was a big dream for a simple, African girl like me. I come from the Nuba tribe, in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan, one of the remotest places on earth. I lived in a village of mud huts with grass-thatch roofs, nestled in a fold of the big hills. My tribe are all hunters and farmers and most of them are Muslims. My father had a herd of fifty cattle, which meant that he wasn't a rich man, but he wasn't poor either.
After a day's hard study at school, I came home and did my chores. Then my ...
If you thought that slavery ended in 1865 - think again. Slave tells the true story of Mende, who was captured in a raid on her Nuba village and sold into slavery in Sudan. This, and another recent book, Escape from Slavery: The True Story of My Ten Years in Captivity and My Journey to Freedom in America by Francis Bok (published in late 2003), are must reads because they tell of slavery happening today, this minute, in Sudan (where slaves change hands for $150)
(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Full Review (336 words).
If you liked Slave, try these:
In Philida, longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, André Brink"one of South Africa's greatest novelists" (The Telegraph)gives us his most powerful novel yet; the truly unforgettable story of a female slave, and her fierce determination to survive and to be free.
To be a moral witness is perhaps the highest calling of journalism, and in this unforgettable, highly readable account of contemporary slavery, author Benjamin Skinner travels around the globe to personally tell stories that need to be told -- and heard.
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