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Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite
In Winnie - Daughter of Azania by Ade Ajibulu, Winnie has a deep connection to Azania, an impoverished community just outside Pretoria. Just like Nelson, her late, well-respected father, Azania and the people who reside there are entrenched deep in her soul. Azania is plagued not only with poverty and hardship but an epidemic of child abductions. Since Nelson’s death, Azania has been governed by Bra Jacob, a self-obsessed, shrewd politician who cares little for the community. Unlike Jacob who thrived on community tension and hatred, Winnie brought nothing but kindness and support to Azania. At only 8 years of age, the community admired and respected Winnie. However, when Winnie rescues a young White girl from a vicious attack, she experiences a different side to the people of Azania. Winnie refuses to give up on her people or leave the community. Shortly afterward, with her mother desperately ill, Winnie disappears. Alone and afraid, Winnie must decide whether she is willing to sacrifice herself to preserve the community she loves.
Winnie - Daughter of Azania by Ade Ajibulu is an incredibly moving story that will take you on a rollercoaster of different emotions. Winnie is an inspirational character who appreciates a person's kind heart and loving soul, not race, class, or gender. At such a young age, her intelligence and compassion are magnificent. There are some incredibly moving scenes between Winnie and Sharon, the girl she saved from certain death; theirs was a friendship that most people will sadly never experience. I also thought there were some beautiful, tender scenes between Winnie and her mother. The scene where Winnie received the letter from her mother was extremely emotional. I thought the character of Honourable Dagado was a horrifying villain, his actions were truly spine chilling. He lacked any remorse or empathy. The plot continually moves forward with amazing action, tension, and suspense. There are also some important lessons weaved cleverly throughout, such as compassion for others, courage to take action, and overcoming your fear to make a difference in the world. Ade also highlights the issues of White farmers and the ownership of land in South Africa from two different viewpoints which I found really insightful. A wonderful story that will warm your heart.