Petina Gappah’s Out of Darkness, Shining Light was announced at the September offering for the One Read App on September 7, 2020.
One Read is a mobile application, brought to you by Nigeria’s Sterling Bank and Ouida Books, aimed at promoting writers, publishers, and other players in the African book industry to create a community of readers. Readers are given access to some of the most stunning work today starting with Travellers by Helon Habila in June, We, The Scarred by Mukoma Wa Ngugi in July, and Not My Time to Die by Yolande Mukagasana in August.
The featured read for September is Out of Darkness, Shining Light the latest book by Petina Gappah. Gappah’s previous books include An Elegy For Easterly (2009), The Book of Memory (2015), and Rotten Row (2016). Her new title has the following blurb;
This is the story of the body of Bwana Daudi, the Doctor, the explorer David Livingstone – and the sixty-nine men and women who carried his remains for 1,500 miles so that he could be borne across the sea and buried in his own country.
The wise men of his age say Livingstone blazed into the darkness of their native land leaving a track of light behind where white men who followed him could tread in perfect safety. But in Petina Gappah’s radical novel, it is those in the shadows of history – those who saved a white man’s bones; his dark companions; his faithful retinue on an epic funeral march – whose voices are resurrected with searing intensity.
This final, fateful journey across the African interior is lead by Halima, Livingstone’s sharp-tongued cook, and three of his most devoted servants: Jacob, Chuma and Susi. Their tale of how his corpse was borne out of nineteenth-century Africa – carrying the maps that sowed the seeds of the continent’s brutal colonisation – has the power of myth. It is not only symbolic of slavery’s hypocrisy, but a portrait of a world trembling on the cusp of total change – and a celebration of human bravery, loyalty and love.
Click here to download the One Read App on Google Play Store.