Bare – Jackie Phamotse

Jackie Phamotse’s Bare.

At the beginning of this year, a twenty years year old socialite, Karabo Mokoena, was burnt to death by her boyfriend.

Bare documents what may have led to her demise and also to many other unnamed young ladies that are seduced by the flashy lives led by others on social media, with posts about expensive trips, clothes, fancy food and numerous lavish gifts seduce young girls into a life of being kept women for so-called ‘Ministers of Finance’ or #Blessers, or more commonly, known as sugar daddies.

In the book, the protagonist is told the words; “Relax; all you need is a Minister of Finance in your life, someone who will support your desires” by one of her friends, which is a sentiment we see echoed in many a young lady’s life.

Bare is a story of Treasure, a naïve dreamer who leaves her dysfunctional home and walks straight into the greedy heart of Johannesburg, a city disguised as one where dreams come true and she chases fame and a happy ending which is only shown to be an illusion.

But, building a life in a big city doesn’t come easy and Treasure watched the tall buildings, fancy cars and well-dressed men and women zoom past as they drove north through the city. She thought designer shoes, beautiful dresses, and weaves and asked how she can fulfill all that she desires when she hasn’t started working.

Treasure is taken advantage of by all the men around her for their own selfish needs and this has the effect of chirping away her self-confidence and esteem. Her father’s abuse of her mother and his power over their family, losing her virginity, being gang-raped at a club, and also being raped during model casting. All these tragedies lead her to literally sell her soul to a powerful man several decades her senior and married, one who gives her the lavish lifestyle she craves but he slowly owns her life by taking each piece of her soul.

The author, Jackie Phamotse, highlights why Treasure couldn’t resist money and the power it brought and the reason why she chose to stay in a toxic relationship and with a man that was not capable of loving her the way she needed.

While reading, I came to understand why the character made the decisions she did. I found that I could relate to a lot of what she was thinking.

I applaud Jackie Phamotse for writing a book that is socially relevant and sparks the conversation on what really goes on before and after that fly photo with the fabulous dress and the fancy food has been taken and posted for millions of followers to like and retweet.

This review, of Jackie Phamotse’s Bare, was written, for Turn The Page Africa, by Mable Amuron.

You can purchase copies of the title by following this link Bare.


Butterfly Dreams And Other Stories – Beatrice Lamwaka

Beatrice Lamwaka’s Butterfly Dreams And Other Stories.

This anthology is a wonderful and powerful contribution to Ugandan literature.

In these stories, Beatrice Lamwaka questions the internal politics of Uganda while also raising very pertinent issues like gender, PTSD, war, the struggle for education, addiction, bullying, and sexuality – which is considered a controversial topic in our country where homosexuality is illegal.

A few of the stories are about the atrocities endured by the Acholi people during the time the Lord’s Resistance Army was terrorizing the northern part Uganda.

The stories are written in different styles but in a way, one that can best be described as both prose and poetry, and in an honest tone which is most refreshing.

Each story stands on its own merit, providing a few surprises and cliff-hangers along the way.

The titular story, Butterfly Dreams, is a short yet powerful read about Lamunu, an abductee and former child soldier that was returned home after five years. Through the narrator, Lamunu’s sibling, we learn the plight of these child soldiers, the way the war alters life itself, the psychological torment the families of the abducted children go through and the swing from desperation to hope like a pendulum.

She expected you to say something. Something that would make her believe your spirit was in that body you carried around. We wanted to know whether your tipu had been buried with your voice. We had never been taught how to unbury a tipu. We only hoped that your real tipu was not six feet under. We wanted to see you alive again.

But even as she speaks on the horrors and the plight the Acholi children suffered, Lamwaka also shows that all is not doom and gloom. She recognizes that there can be, and there is life full of opportunities and hope after the end of the war as we see Lamunu eventually going back to school to fulfil her desire to become a doctor.

This particular story won a nomination for Beatrice Lamwaka for the prestigious 2011 Caine Prize for African Writing.

I highly recommend this book, it is entertaining yes, but it also sparks conversation on a lot of issues that are otherwise swept under the rug.

This review, of Beatrice Lamwaka’s Butterflies And Other Stories, was written, for Turn The Page Africa, by Mable Amuron.

You can purchase copies of the book by following this link Butterflies And Other Stories