Summary and book reviews of Slave by Mende Nazer

Slave

My True Story

by Mende Nazer, Damien Lewis

Slave
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2004, 368 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2005, 352 pages

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Book Summary

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.

Prologue
The Raid

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 ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

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 Members Only (336 words).

Media Reviews

Denver Post

Nazer tells her story of individual dignity combined with uncommon courage.

Publishers Weekly

... a straightforward, harrowing memoir that's a sobering reminder that slavery still needs to be stamped out [and] a profound meditation on the human ability to survive virtually any circumstances.

Booklist - Hazel Rochman

Starred Review. The shock of this title is that it refers to what is happening right now, in Sudan, Africa, and also in the West. [This is] a clear, compelling, first-person narrative that conveys her young voice with powerful authenticity. Her memories of childhood in her Nuba village are idyllic. The details are unforgettable, capturing both the innocence of the child and the world-weariness of one who has endured the worst.

Kirkus Reviews

.. Nazer heart-wrenchingly describes the ragged unpredictability of beatings, the crowding thoughts of home, the repulsive food, and the drear of daily toil. Sent to London to work for her mistress's sister, the wife of a Sudanese diplomat, Nazer manages to contact a fellow Nuban who helps her to escape and gets her a lawyer... Revelatory in the truest sense of the word told with a child-pure candor that comes like a bucket of cold water in the lap.

Author Blurb Waris Dirie, author of Desert Flower
By telling her story, Mende has managed to shed much needed light to the plight of the rest of our African sisters and throughout it all, her strength and beauty never fade.

Author Blurb Norma Khouri, author of Honor Lost Love and Death in Modern-Day Jordan
An eye-opening account of the atrocities that can and do happen when one nationality believes it is superior to another, and an unforgettable plea for all people of all nations to focus on the importance of human rights and to understand that we are all equal, all part of one human race, and therefore should all be treated equally.

Author Blurb Libby Manthey, Riverwalk Books Limited, Chelan, WA
Slave retells the story of Mende Nazer, captured in 1993 at age 12 in southern Sudan and taken to Khartoum to work as a house slave. As you read about Nazer's enslavement and her eventual run to freedom in September 2000, you will weep, rage, and shout for justice. I couldn't put it down.

Reader Reviews

Marceline

Moving, pure inspiration.
'Slave' the book is a bird's eye view of a sad, brutal life which was lived by a innocent child/adult. This book is not only life changing but is the scary inside life of the slave trade and servers, feral act of racism and a extraordinary vow to ...   Read More

Krystle

AMAZING!
I read Slave for my semester book report. I have no idea why I chose this book, I was just drawn to it, but I'm extremely glad I read it. Slave is one of the best books I have ever read (and I read a lot) It is an eye opener that modern slavery ...   Read More

Nicholas Walling

inspiring
Slave is just a book that will inspire you, broaden your knowledge, make you want to do something, and make you realize just how cruel this world really is.

Gai Mawut

Shame the devil
Many books have been written about Sudanese civil wars and ensuing sufferings of the civilians under NIF , but non has ever captured the true magnitude of the suffering than the Slave . I have just finished reading it , but while I was reading I kept...   Read More

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