The more I read the more I get to know about certain themes, whether they are universal or regional. When I start reading an African book I already know what to expect. Postcolonialism is something that seems unavoidable, and why wouldn’t it be, to be honest. How We Buried Puso by Morable Morojele is no exception. It also deals with other common themes like spirituality, what it is to be an African and part of an African community, as well as what life in exile is. Once again big themes in a short book.
Lefe lives abroad, in exile, like so many other African men. He is partly longing for home, and has an emptiness inside him, and he has a hard time getting on with life, even economically. He wasn’t able to travel back home when his grandmother passed away, because he could not afford it. He made it to his brother’s funeral.
The book is written in first person, which of course gives a bit narrower of a picture of the world the main character lives in, since the book is only written from one point of view. The time span is short – just a few days – but Lefe has flashbacks taking the reader back in times when his loved ones were still alive. The flashbacks in the book can be quite confusing since it is not always clear when Lefe is in the past or in the present.
Morojele writes an interesting book about politics as a family saga. He lived abroad for several years with his family, and then returned back to Africa. He certainly has the perspective for writing a book about Lefe’s life. My favourite thing in the book however is… beer! Morojele writes about beer and about drinking beer at all times.
“The best job you could ever get in a county such as ours, whether as a labourer, or technician or manager, is at the brewery. Demand is guaranteed and supply is never to fail, so that even at a time of drought, water is made available for the huge stainless steel vats that bubble at the centre of the pristine and well-guarded factory. But then, people drink beer everywhere if they can.”
I have to say I really enjoyed this aspect of the book. It definitely gave something new to African literature. I really appreciate it when something new and interesting is added to a book. I can honestly say I was not expecting to get to read this much about beer in this book. It gives a nice quirky angle amongst all the much more heavier themes in the book.