Shaka are Dead by John Samson

You’d be forgiven for thinking this was a book about Shaka, King of the Zulu, but as you’ve guessed from this introductory sentence, it’s not.

Shaka is a dog who befriends two young boys in post-Apartheid South Africa, one black and one white. All have a preference for peanut-butter sandwiches. The book opens with Zakes attempting suicide, referred to as ‘sewerage pipe’. This leads to a series of events including the young narrator witnessing the killing of his family. The two boys and Shaka flee the scene and head to Mpumalanga trying to find Zakes’ grandparents. Along the way they encounter various characters, quarrel and behave as only youngsters with street-wisdom can.

This is a story of survival and hope, challenging stereotypes commonly found in and about South Africa. The challenge of the book is in its style. The young narrator writes as he speaks


4 Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Black and white: crossing the colour line
  2. Language – crossing boundaries
  3. Vocab development: Tone
  4. It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it

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