The last absolute Monarchy of Africa is an interesting country. It has changed name from Swaziland to eSwatini after I started my reading journey around the globe. It is not an easy country to find a book from, but lucky there seems to be one author whose books can be found in English. It took me awhile, but finally Sarah Mkhonza’s Weeding the Flowerbeds were back in stock, and it was time for me to read it.
It’s a fictitious book about a few girls going to a boarding school ran by missionaries. It goes through several years of the girls studying, all the way up to their graduation. That is pretty much the storyline in the book. That and the girls growing up. Otherwise there is no grand plan or thread throughout the book.
It goes quite into details at times, for example about prayers, tests, and in the end not that interesting repetitive subjects. My favourite parts are when the girls come up with mischief or when there is discussion and pondering about Africans, and African countries. It is impossible for me to imagine what it must have been like being next to South Africa and its Apartheid and travelling to Durban by bus with the other girls. You are a black, young foreign girl in a country where so many things are the same, yet everything is different.
I think the book could have been really good if it would have been worked on a bit more. The repetitive things about school and tests could instead have been more about other things at school and in life. The universal matter of growing up, the changes in your body and mind are there, but then they are put aside because it seems more important to pray and study. That might be true, but it is not so interesting reading to be honest.
It is an easy read, and it is nice to get to know the young Swazi girls and find out a little bit about life in eSwatini. I doubt most people can send their girls off to boarding school, so one day I hope there will be more books to read about life and people in eSwatini.