Weeding the Flowerbeds by Sarah Mkhonza

a nutshell: in this memoir of boarding school, Mkhonza takes the reader through her daily life as an earnest, though sometimes mischievous, pupil in what was then called Swaziland (now Eswatini)

a line: “What we needed was an education for a newly independent nation, one that would allow us to create our own worlds”

an image: the final scene ends the novel on an earnestly optimistic note, describing the bus ride out of school into the countryside – the mountains’ beauty, blue sky, white clouds

a thought: Mkhonza reflects often on freedom, the different ways in which we are free as children and as adults, and how we long for the other version at various points in our lives

a fact: an outspoken activist for women’s rights under her country’s monarchy, Mkhonza’s refusal to stop criticising the government’s repressive policies resulted in threats, assaults & hospitalization – she eventually left for the United States

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