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More Matata: Love After the Mau Mau: Love After the Mau Mau (Volume 2) Paperback – October 27, 2012
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These books are absorbing reading. They combine the social history of a family and community with thorough historical research that informs the reader of Kenya’s political evolution. If you haven't done so already, be sure to read "Just Matata: Sin, Saints and Settlers” and it's sequel, "More Matata: Love After the Mau Mau” (The first two books of The Matata Trilogy) by Braz Menezes, a former renowned Kenyan architect, turned author. Partly autobiographical, the books chronicle the culturally rich and colourful coming-of-age story of a young & precocious boy and his traditional Catholic Goan family in pre-independent Kenya. Told from the POV of the boy, Lando (in "Just Matata"), and later of the young man (in "More Matata"), he first describes how his father ends up in Kenya in 1928, putting down roots originally in Mombasa and then in Nairobi, before returning to Goa briefly to gain a wife in 1935.
Lando, born as WW II breaks out in Europe, grows up across the road from the (Europeans only) Parklands Sports Club and within walking distance to the then Coryndon Museum. He experiences a traditionally Goan up-bringing superimposed over a typically adventuresome Kenyan boyhood (in "Just Matata"), before he is sent off at the age of eleven, to a Jesuit-run boarding school in faraway Goa. But he manages an escape. This is followed by even more complicated but equally rich and valuable teen years during the Mau Mau, as he forges into virgin terrain at an ‘Asians only’ high school in Kenya, and later into the first multi-racial class at what was the inaugural Nairobi University. His apprenticing internships at various architectural firms are thought provoking, as are his anxieties about inter-racial relationships and marriage.
You'll laugh, you'll cry and even learn through the culturally interesting eyes of the young Goan-Kenyan. You'll also be taken down a wonderful memory lane full of anecdotes of the unique kind of growing-up experiences shared by Kenyan of all nationalities, including (but not limited to) masala-spiced mangoes, the Museum and the Leakey family, a first safari, a memorable family picnic in the Rift Valley, shopping in the Indian Bazaar, a family visit to Old Town Mombasa, a return voyage by steamship to Goa, and a glimpse of life in boarding school. Lando also has a bossy older sister, a loyal dog named Simba, and a compelling schoolboy crush.
The 2 books really are "must reads" for anyone who ever grew up or lived in Kenya (and curious tourists) wanting to understand the historical social fabric, then or now. I am enthusiastically sharing my reactions, as I believe other readers will absolutely enjoy reading "Just Matata" and "More Matata," by Braz Menezes. Buy them today and then, like me, yearn to find out what happens next in the still untitled, soon-to-be released 3rd book of the trilogy. Happy reading!
Matata means trouble.The story begins when Lando returns to Kenya after a period of schooling in the Portuguese colony of Goa where his parents had lived before their immigration to Kenya. Through Lando's eyes we experience the seething racial tensions and terror during a time of profound political and social change.
As a Catholic Goan, Lando is caught in the colonial system that classifies people based on color and discriminates against non-whites. As an Asian, he experiences the barriers that restrict educational opportunities and social interaction. As a teenager, he soon becomes aware of the terror and violence growing around him as the Mau Mau seeks to overthrow the Colonial government. As the eldest child of a peace-loving family with traditional values, Lando faces personal challenges as he grows towards his own independence.
The author brings the history of Kenya and the beauty of the land alive. His portrayal of the excitement surrounding the visit of Princess Elizabeth who became a Queen before leaving Kenya captures the awe and loyalty felt by many toward the royal family. His descriptions of the growth of the Mau Mau and the reactions of the local governments to the organization bring to life both the terror spreading across the land and the increasing realization that the colonial government would fall.
The history of Kenya unfolds while Lando is finding his calling into architecture and early professional successes. Although he enjoys the company of girls in his Goan community, he never forgets Saboti, a young girl of mixed African - English races, whom he met before he left for Goa, Their surprising meeting and renewed relationship is the highlight of the book Their relationship does not escape serious matata.
With his prologue and epilogue, Braz Menezes puts the events of the sweeping changes in Kenya into a current perspective and shares his personal feelings of hope and love. This is a powerful and moving book.
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