Uzamushaka is God's Strength

Author: Claudeth Williams



Category: Fiction

Page: 160

View: 395

"Uzamushaka is God s Strength, "the debut full-length novel of Jamaican-born author, Claudeth V. Williams, is historical fiction, set in the small, Central African country of Rwanda during and after the civil uprisings of 1994, which resulted in the deaths of half-a-million of that country s citizens. After her family witnesses the brutal murder of her father at the hands of political extremists, 15-year-old Uzamushaka is forced to flee for her life, along with thousands of her countrymen, in a days-long exodus across unforgiving terrain to the protection of French soldiers posted in camps in neighbouring Zaire. Her mother and baby brother soon succumb to the rigors of the perilous journey, and she is left on her own to face the squalor, filth, and confusion of the overcrowded refugee camp, where disease and death run rampant. Struggling to survive, she must also care for her eight-year-old brother, as well as the two-year-old baby boy whom she finds alone and crying beside the body of a dead woman. She lovingly adopts him as her own, hoping to one day find his family. With this simple act of kindness, though, Uzamushaka unwittingly becomes a pawn embroiled in a dangerous game of political intrigue between the country s two warring factions. Should the wrong persons discover the little boy s true identity, it could not only cost him his life, but also have serious implications for the future of her homeland and its inhabitants. As a result, the determined heroine is inexorably drawn into an action-packed adventure that will lead her on an incredible journey from deep inside Africa s tropical jungles to the airy mountains of France, before her ultimate destiny is realized. Against the backdrop of Central Africa s lush geography, this is the personal story of a family decimated and displaced by the latest conflict to arise from centuries of foreign-influenced political unrest and tribal warfare. The young heroine experiences first-hand the atrocities of war and genocide, and provides a vivid and chilling account of the documented sub-human conditions suffered by tens of thousands evacuated to refugee camps. As Uzamushaka struggles amid the turmoil, she clings to the hope that that the prejudice and hatred will one day end, bringing peace and prosperity to her people and a better life for the innocent children victimized and orphaned by war. Hers is also the story of a young girl s coming of age. Uzamushaka quickly embraces the responsibilities suddenly thrust upon her as mother, teacher, and protector, and learns to rely upon her wits in a quest to not only survive, but thrive under unimaginably hostile conditions. In spite of her plight, she courageously dares to pursue the unprecedented goal of making a very different life for herself; half-a-world away from the one she has known. And, as the compassionate peasant girl blossoms into womanhood, she will come to know both the joy and pain of a forbidden love. Time and time again, the resourceful and resilient Uzamushaka must find "God s strength" within herself, in order to adapt to and overcome the most desperate of circumstances, and protect the boy she finds from those who would harm him. Although her chances for security, love, and happiness seem threatened at every turn; each new danger, heartbreak, or challenge she faces will bring her that much closer to fulfilling what her father called God s "great and noble purpose" for her life. Thus, the story of Uzamushaka is perhaps most of all, a universal tale of courage, faith, hope, and the eventual triumph of one girl s spirit over the dark cruelty of man s inhumanity to man. "--Ed. " "