Defining Pearl

...a precious difference

Non-Fiction - Memoir
96 Pages
Reviewed on 03/28/2014
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Author Biography

Pearl Matibe is an award-winning dynamic speaker with brilliant speeches that share her amazing story of courage, culture, grace, identity, resilience and triumph that molded her life and inspire an audience. She belongs in a group of influential speakers that have their own distinctive flair.
Today, author of ‘Defining Pearl’ is fiercely loyal to the advancement of a 21st century global cultural intelligence. With over 18 years’ experience in the hospitality industry she is certified in Operational Analysis by Cornell University’s Hotel School. She is a member of Toastmasters International and focuses her time on advisory work to varied Boards of Directors around the world. Her willingness to speak fair and square on causes she cares about makes her a respected advocate.
She is passionate about travel and remains a firm proponent of ‘Live your ideals!’

    Book Review

Reviewed by Bil Howard for Readers' Favorite

Defining Pearl is indeed a pearl of great price. The memoir of Pearl Matibe is written by an extraordinary woman who was a part of the political opposition to a dictator in Zimbabwe and lived to tell about it. In an attempt to define who she is, Pearl chronicles her childhood and education, both of which were very segregated from the world outside the closed curtains of her home. She was taught strict etiquette and proper English from early on and was often mistaken for a white woman over the phone. Her dream was realized as she and her husband settled into raising a family on a farm, something that typically was done by the white landowners. But everything went wrong when her husband became a part of the opposition against the dictatorial rule of Robert Mugabe. The seizure of their farm, numerous arrests, and threats on her life and the lives of her family finally drove her from Zimbabwe. She eventually found herself in the U.S. where she was forced to learn a new culture and begin to define herself in a different way.

Pearl Matibe has an excellent story to tell in Defining Pearl. She doesn’t tell it out of a sense of vanity, but rather to communicate the pride that she has in her family and heritage. She takes an honest look at the double-standards that exist in our world based upon race and culture. Her observations are an accusation toward all of us because we do not truly see who a person is, but rather make an assumption based upon outward appearances, accents, or heritage. I felt a slight bite, also, as she described an America that is very different from the one that I grew up in. Yet, I also understood her disenchantment because I have experienced the very same things from my own country as the culture has continually morphed itself into something unrecognizable. Ultimately, however, I found Defining Pearl to be honest, tragic, and inspiring; a lesson in our failure to really getting to know people.

Kelly Santana

Defining Pearl: A Precious Difference is a memoir by Pearl Matibe. Pearl was born in Rhodesia (a country currently known as Zimbabwe),on the African continent. Daughter of a nurse (mother) and a cosmetic salesperson (father), Pearl was sent to “Whites Only” boarding school at a young age. Wanting the best education for their daughter, Pearl’s parents sent her to elite schools (where she learned everything she knew in life ranging from diverse languages, to sports and proper manners) until her late teenage years. After finishing her studies, Pearl realized that the reality in which she grew up was much different than the situation in her dear country. Pearl met Philemon, who later became her husband. With their broad expertise, they owned a trading business and started commercial farming; a business that was run basically by Whites, which became prosperous and contributed to the well-being of the local community. Tired of the oppression of their people and looking for the betterment of their society, Pearl and Philemon decided to affiliate with the opposition party in Zimbabwe. That was when problems arose and their journey really began.

Defining Pearl: A Precious Difference by Pearl Matibe is a compelling story of bravery, resilience, and survival. Pearl is an example of life. She was candid with her story and struggles, making her book relatable. Coming from an elite upbringing and shielded from the threatening realities of her country, Pearl still had a lot to learn. Ms. Matibe graciously retells stories of her childhood, her family, her people, and how she came to live in the U.S. I particularly loved the part in which Ms. Matibe analyzes the cultural differences between Africans, Americans, and British, as well as her quest for self-identity. Another high point of the book is when she gives an eye-opening overview of the conflicts in Zimbabwe and a little bit of its history. I especially enjoyed this part. This book is a must-read. I definitely recommend it.

Kathryn Bennett

Defining Pearl ...A Precious Difference by Pearl Matibe is a memoir that only Pearl Matibe could write, one that brings candor and intimate details of a life that was full of many different things. Growing up, Pearl lived a charmed life with a wonderful family and all the benefits that you would expect when you are rich, including a world-class education. She shares an insightful look at what happened during a time that was dangerous and violent, when her own country turned against her, and their people; offering state-sponsored violence, causing people to leave, including Pearl. Look into the sorrow of having to leave and follow Pearl as she learns the new cultural norms in Europe and North America.

This book has so many layers to it and there is so much weight to it. I laughed when I read it, and I cried when I read it, and I really truly felt for all the challenges that Pearl had to go through. This memoir is candid - it took such courage to write it and truly pulls on your heart strings with every turn of the page. Once I picked it up, I found that I couldn’t set it down. Pearl Matibe has let us into her life and shown us with her own voice how her life has been lived. To me, Pearl is a very strong woman, strong for living her life, for making her choices, bettering herself, and strong for shining a light into all the dark corners of what happened in her home country. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants an insightful memoir that makes you feel what the author experienced.

Mary Tendai Esquilin

Wow Pearl, your book is an education, and an informal lesson on events. So much in there! Glad you had the courage to share some of your life with many others!