A Fine Madness by Mashingaidze Gomo (Book Review)
Part prose, part poetry, A Fine Madness is a befitting title to this evocative offering about war from Mashingaidze Gomo. A forward written by Ngugi wa Thiongo, sets the scene for what’s to come; a narrative that tells the story of war in the Congo through the verbatim account by a soldier who lived through it. Important to state that Gomo, who is Zimbabwean was an air force pilot, who served in some of Africa most devastating wars, including the war in the DRC, known as ‘Africa’s world war.’ Gomo’s experiences on the battlefield have served him well because he skilfully paints a visual tapestry of heinous images, stringed together by the words of an observant soldier through whom, we experience the loneliness, horror and harrowing nature of war.
It is clear that experiencing war and writing about it, also gave the author insight as to why Africans must tell their own stories. His rage is uncontained about the continuous interference of foreign nations in African affairs in the chapter – The Rape – captivated through powerful metaphors. “And the rapists were providing huge sums of money as pre-natal aid to nurture the unwanted pregnancy to a healthy delivery of their bastard offspring that would in inherit Africa and hand it back to them.”
As conflict rages in Libya, Ivory Coast and who can forget the DRC, where militias continue the fight for their share of the nation’s minerals, A Fine Madness is a poignant reminder about the devastating effects of war on the mind and the destruction it leaves in its path. Gomo reminds us about the human cost of war. This is a deep excavation of Africa’s wars and how they have in turn turned her children into beggars though they have all they need, which has resulted in a painful existence. A Fine madness is Gomo’s song for Africa and Africans.
A Fine Madness is published by Ayebia Press, UK