Another intriguing memoir that provides further insight into African culture. Though this memoir stands on its own without the need to have read any of the author’s other books, readers would benefit from having read Lucinda’s more personal, award winning, memoir ‘Walking Over Eggshells’. Even if the reader choses not to read it now, it is recommended.
This memoir is initially based upon the author’s experiences as the writer of African radio and television programmes, some voluntary and others to order, or perhaps it would be better to say ‘as ordered’. As usual Lucinda’s humorous, self-deprecating, easy style flows carrying the reader along with her as she embarks upon a number of ‘adventures’ in the radio and television world: finding herself not only writing the programmes but also having to produce, organise and carry out most of the support work; eventually, managing her own video production company; and regularly writing for magazines. Throughout the author’s versatility is in clear evidence though she is no way boastful or arrogant about her abilities. Nonetheless, the reader will be impressed by her multiple and varied competences and proficiency: she was also a school teacher for much of the time.
Most of the radio and television programmes were related to social, political and commercial aspects of African culture. The social ones in particular were intended to try and pursued the locals to adopt improved life styles and to utilise modern facilities as the government made them available e.g. electric lighting, indoor toilets, etc. Some commercial enterprises, for who the author was also employed to write and produce, were also geared to the improvement of individual lives, for example, using toothpaste. In relating these the author provides the reader with insight into the living conditions and attitudes of the poor who formed the prevalent portion of the African societies within which she lived and worked.
Lucinda’s accounts clearly show how politicians and commercial enterprises try to manipulate the media. Frequently she tries to bring a balance and to present the information in a more suitable and understandable format, even though the commissioning parties have ordered specific restraints and formats, which were not necessarily easy for locals to understand. Sometimes she gets away with it at other times not. All provide a very interesting insight into how politics and commerce operate and it is not too hard to see the attitudes revealed are probably representative of such behaviour round the world, no matter if a first or third world nation.
To some it may appear, due to the primary subject matter, this would be a dull read. IT IS NOT. It is interesting, relevant and entertaining and shows how, with a determined mind, someone may change situations and circumstances to benefit.
Four Stars (4*).
The book is available in e-book and paperback format from multiple retailers including Amazon.
Author interview. (Lucinda answers some reader questions.)