Nairobi, Kenya – In the middle of the country, a white-shoe-wearing man with a white beard walks up to a small village and says: “This is Africa.”
The man’s name is Robert and he has the look of a country-obsessed salesman from the 1970s.
A few hours later, he is sitting in the garden of his modest home in Nairobs, surrounded by the lush green fields and lush greenery of Kenya’s northern coastal plain.
The man is Robert Ndebele, and he is not the only one to write about Africa.
Ndebelle is a writer, musician and poet.
His debut novel, Land and Coates, has sold over 100,000 copies and has been translated into seven languages.
It is the story of an African boy who falls in love with a young white woman, who has to flee her abusive husband, and the boy’s struggle to reconcile these two worlds.
“It’s a journey of redemption and a journey into love,” Ndebetle says.
“You know, I don’t know why I wanted to write this book.
I think I just wanted to have a little bit of fun.”
But this isn’t just a tale of redemption.
The book is also a meditation on the African diaspora.
Robert Ndabele is not an ethnic-minority writer.
He is an African writer.
And he is writing in English.
“I think I write because I am African,” Ndbele says, his voice softening.
And now that I am older, I know it’s something that has to be written.” “
But when I was younger, my mum never told me to write.
And now that I am older, I know it’s something that has to be written.”
Ndbetle is the son of a writer who grew up in the bush in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and spent two years living in Britain’s London.
He became a writer at the age of 13 and has spent most of his adult life in England.
“There are lots of reasons I wanted the book to come out now,” he says.
Ndibele says his parents moved to England after the war.
“They had no money, so they decided to move to England and work for a few years.
And I was the one who started to write, to be honest.”
The book’s title is a nod to the African refugee crisis, when the UK’s government gave money to the UNHCR to help refugees and migrants.
The idea is to create a narrative that is “relevant to the situation of Africa today”.
The book follows Ndandele and his wife as they attempt to reunite with his father, a retired army colonel, who is still in prison.
Ndebelle says he felt compelled to write the book as a response to what he calls the “whitewashing” of Africa.
“For a long time I didn’t really know what to do,” he recalls.
“The problem is, there’s this whole white culture that has come into being.
I know that it’s not something that’s easy for people to relate to. “
That’s why it’s important for me to tell a story of this struggle for Africa.
Ndebela’s father, the former Colonel Ndebenle, was a soldier in the Congo war who was killed by a rebel sniper. “
So when I started writing, it was just to be my own voice, to tell my story.”
Ndebela’s father, the former Colonel Ndebenle, was a soldier in the Congo war who was killed by a rebel sniper.
He was imprisoned for four years and was eventually released, but the man’s family is still stuck in the countryside, living in a small shack with a few goats.
They cannot move to another village because the land is too remote.
They have nowhere to go and Ndebelle has to keep trying to find work in a nearby town.
“And it’s very difficult for us because we are poor people and we live in the country,” Ndebeli says.
He feels that it is the people’s right to tell their stories.
The country he lives in has been transformed by the war and it is a struggle to survive, Ndebelo says.
When Ndebello was a child, the military had a lot of power and was very powerful in the communities, Ndabelle recalls.
Now, his father is in prison, unable to return to the village.
His daughter is also in prison and her father has a son in prison too.
The family is living in fear and are not allowed to go out.
“We have to do everything by ourselves, we have to keep living this life as if it’s our last one,” Ndelelo says, as he takes a bath.
The novel, titled Land and Nates, is Ndebolle’s