As far as your book is concerned, let me say at the outset that I found it really absorbing. I know far too little about the subject of anthropology to comment on it as an anthropological study – to me it read like a memoir and a classic ‘heroine’s journey’ rolled into one: You, the narrator of a pivotal slice of your life, venture into the unknown on an adventure, you overcome obstacles, your inner process is revealed, you get a greater grasp of your interiority and you return a more authentic person.
Of course the fascinating ways and world view of the Lenda are extremely interesting, especially the independence of the women, but by far my curiosity was piqued by you - so young, so wounded, so hungry to ‘find yourself’, so psychically ‘open’ due to the fact that you were out of your comfort zone which allowed suppressed memory and pain to bubble up.
It says a lot of your strength of spirit that you were not completely submerged by those powerful experiences that came from deep inside. It was exactly this powerful experience of yourself, which in turn gave you the tenderness and capacity to get a depth perspective on the Lenda – that is my conclusion.
I gather from the more academic passages in your book that your field of study grapples with the inevitable bias that a fieldworker brings to the subject of study. I think it is precisely your inevitable bias that makes this account readable for me. I am always more interested in authentic growth, honesty and the search for meaning in a book than in bland facts – writing that is well-balanced between heart and head.
So for this reader, the emotional/professional evolution of you the narrator, and how you describe it against the fascinating and sometimes disturbing background of that often hopeless setting, caught my attention and motivated me to keep turning the page.
Andre Eva Bosch
Journalist, Reporter, Writer
Author of “Alive Again”
Won Sanlam Prize for South African Youth Fiction