Yecheilyah’s Book Reviews – Crossroads: Women Coming of Age in Today’s Uganda Edited by Christopher Conte

Title: Crossroads: Women Coming of Age in Today’s Uganda

Editor: Christopher Conte

Print Length: 180 pages

Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1507680228

Publication Date: August 30, 2015

Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC

ASIN: B014QBPALM

*I was gifted a copy of this book by the editor*

Crossroads is a fascinating anthology comprising autobiographical essays by several Ugandan women. I loved the opportunity to learn more about the Ugandan culture and the upbringing of African women and how it is different (and in many ways similar) from the upbringing of Black women here in America. Rarely do we hear of what these women endure so it was refreshing to read about it. All of the stories have a common Coming-of-Age theme where the women discuss their experiences coming into womanhood among the customs and traditions of their country. We learn about their childhoods, sex, marriage, career, and livelihood.

All of the stories were compelling but there were a few that really stuck out for me more than the others. I enjoyed the opening story, for instance, about the meaning of names and the cashier treating the woman unfairly because of her name. Personally, I can relate to having a unique name myself and I am often asked the same questions that Nakisanze Segawa was asked.

There were two stories that had the biggest impact on me above all the others. The young women taken from their University without a word, abused  and forcibly imprisoned was heartbreaking. I also found the customs surrounding the Ssengas both fascinating and also odd.

By custom Ssenga’s are paternal aunts who assume special responsibilities and help to guide the women, their “nieces” in the ways of society. They teach the women how to behave, submit to a man, how to display class and grace, they monitor their manners and their ways around the house.

Ssengas teach young women about their bodies, about hygiene and sex and ultimately prepare them to be good wives. I love the concept of having someone there to mentor young women and to ensure they grow to be respectable wives and mothers. The fact that the Ssengas take over this role and not the mother is interesting to me. I found myself wondering if it would help for young women in the States, especially young Black women without mothers, to have this kind of guidance and support instead of having to figure things out on their own or in the street.

What I enjoyed least about the role of the Ssengas is that their teachings go too far, at least based on the testimonies of the women. It’s one thing to teach young women about their bodies and how to be wives but the extent to which these women are obligated to serve their husbands is, in my opinion, oppressive. Some of the acts, in fact, were downright disgusting and unnecessary. I should be clear that I am all for submission. I believe that women are to submit to their husbands like the bible instructs and that the man is the spiritually ordained head of the household.

The problem I have is ways in which Submission has been portrayed, defined, twisted, and distorted all over the world. Not only do women in America have a concept of submission that is not, in my opinion, accurate but so do women in other countries. Submission is not slavery and a man’s authority over his wife does not exempt him from certain duties and responsibilities or give him the permission to be abusive. Men are to love their wives as their own bodies and a wife respects her husband.

I believe that if done properly, submission and authority can work well but if not done correctly, can easily look like slavery as it, sadly, often does.

There are some great qualities that are promoted in Uganda that many women across the globe can benefit from but then there are some things that we may find strange if we didn’t grow up that way.

In what way does earning degrees and having an education balance with being good wives? Do the women defy tradition or follow it?

This book sparks great conversation about the lives of women and is relevant considering the social and political climate of our time.

Movement / Strength: 5/5

Entertainment Factor: 5 /5

Authenticity / Believable: 5/5

Thought Provoking: 5/5

Overall: 5/5

Crossroads: Women Coming of Age in Today’s Uganda is available now on Amazon


About the Editor

Christopher Conte is an American journalist who spent fifteen years as a reporter and editor for the Wall Street Journal before beginning a freelance career. He has traveled extensively throughout Africa, eastern Europe, and Asia, as a consultant for the World Bank’s International Finance Group. Conte has also worked as a trainer and mentor to journalists in Uganda, and other locations throughout Africa and Asia.

Movie Night Friday – Cooley High

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Welcome back to another Movie Night Friday. It’s obvious you guys don’t like the movies I like but nonetheless lol, here’s another EC Fav: Cooley High.

Cooley High is a classic! First, its set in my home town of Chicago and I have a cousin whose name is on the bathroom wall in one of the scenes. In fact, everyone from Chicago probably has a relative who was in this movie. That’s because while the starring actors were pros, the extras were recruited right from the projects. Yup, many of these kids lived right over there in the Cabrini Green Projects.

Now, what is the movie about anyway?

Richard “Cochise” Morris (Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs), a local basketball hero, and Leroy “Preach” Jackson (Glynn Turman), who dreams of a career in writing, are likable Chicago high school students in 1960s Chicago. They’re into hanging out with friends, pretty girls and the Motown sounds so popular during the era. Each wants to make it big in his own way, but not everybody they meet is looking out for them, as they learn when a seemingly harmless outing goes awry.- Google

A simple film, Cooley High captured our hearts because of its realness. Though I wasn’t born in 1975 when it released, I too once lived in the projects on the city streets of the Chi. I too can remember growing up poor with a single mom. Movies like this are relatable and showcase the realness and often the struggle of inner city youth. The history behind the movie is also interesting:

The story behind “Cooley High” is even more dramatic than the comedy-drama that unspooled on the screen. It’s the story of Kenneth Williams, who, like protagonist Preach, left Chicago’s Cabrini-Green projects with dreams of becoming a Hollywood screenwriter. Having dropped out of high school, he hitchhiked from the Windy City to Hollywood with $5 in his pocket and no connections, and for a while he supported himself selling drugs. But the aspiring writer, who renamed himself Eric Monte, also befriended actor Mike Evans, who’d been cast as neighbor Lionel Jefferson on the groundbreaking sitcom “All in the Family.” Through Evans, Monte pitched the show’s producer, Norman Lear, a script introducing the characters of Lionel’s parents, George and Louise Jefferson. Lear bought the script and eventually spun off George, Weezy, and Lionel into their own hit sitcom, “The Jeffersons,” but Monte was neither hired as a staff writer nor given credit or residuals for “The Jeffersons,” which ran from 1975 to 1985.

http://www.moviefone.com/2015/06/25/cooley-high-most-influential-movie/

Monte and Evans would go on to produce the sitcom hit Good Times.

Movie Trailer:

Since the movie is 41 years old, it was hard to find a Trailer that was clear enough and also interesting enough (Didn’t want to show scenes that made it look like a boring movie! It definitely is not). The one I found isn’t a trailer but just an excerpt from the movie. The only other option was from the old VHS and I didn’t enjoy that trailer. It wasn’t showing any interesting parts.

And that’s it for Movie Night Friday.

MNF2

#Book #Review – The Mistreatment of Zora Langston by Lisa Tetting @RebirthofLisa, by Yecheilyah

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Check out last years review of debut author Lisa Tettings “The Mistreatment of Zora Langston.” Happy One Year Anniversary Zora. 💖 Be sure to check out Lisa’s blog for a chance to win an autographed copy of this book!

Title: The Mistreatment of Zora Langston (Paperback)
Author: Lisa W. Tetting
Website: https://rebirthoflisa.wordpress.com/
ISBN 13: 9780996142908
Published: First Edition (March 15, 2015)
Publisher: Self
Pages: 158 pages
Genre: Coming of Age, Young Adult, Drama, Fiction
Rating: 4/5

https://rebirthoflisa.wordpress.com/2015/03/21/book-reviewers-wanted/

(A copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review):

Blurb:
“Zora Langston is nine years old when her father dies, leaving her in the hands of a mother who is anything but loving and siblings who never considered her family. Without her father, she is truly alone. Before the dirt has settled on her father’s grave, there’s a new man of the house, and he has no interest in being Zora’s father. Despite her hardships, Zora remains true and allows faith to help free her from this new, horrible life she’s found herself in. She finds solace in her aunt and uncle and, for the first time, starts to discover what it’s like to have a real family. However, just when she thinks she has escaped her tormentors, new abusers emerge, old ones return from hiding, and she must find the strength to survive.”

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The Mistreatment of Zora Langston is a Coming of Age novel surrounding the abuse experienced by nine year old Zora Langston. Set in Goldsboro, North Carolina, there is so much to relate to and so much to learn in this powerful testimony of abuse, betrayal, and through it all the ability to still love and to be loved. Ironically, the cause of her father’s death becomes the epitome of tragedy for Zora in more ways than one. His enemies become hers and everywhere she turns, when it seems things are getting better, they only worsen. To start, Zora is not given the chance to mourn her father before her mother’s boyfriend moves in. Her mother, who is supposed to be her shinning example of womanhood and best friend, despises her very existence. Her sister burns with an intense jealousy, and her brother’s nonchalant attitude further illuminates Zora’s invisibility. As a result of continual physical and emotional abuse, she is sent to live with her Aunt Terri and Uncle Jim and for the first time gets to experience what it means to be happy and to have a family. I was excited to see her get excited at those little things that children love.

I think what makes this a moving piece is that it is told from the eyes of a nine year old. I did not expect Zora to endure what she did and the abuse she encountered is shocking. Children have a tendency to be very open and honest even in the midst of grown-up experiences, and Zora is no different. She approaches the situations of her youth with the same level of naïveté as most children. Yet, while Zora’s perspective is rightly child-like, the tragedies she endured makes her stronger and thus her reaction to the situations surrounding her is in many ways also mature, surprising the adults around her who are often taken aback.

What I found especially educational, is how the author incorporated the life lessons of Zora’s dad and the parenting of her Aunt and Uncle into the tragedies of her life, and how those lessons were used to strengthen Zora in the moments she needed them most. In this way, despite the hardships she encountered she was still capable of holding on to a level of innocence deserving of a nine year old. “I usually wore a swim cap…but that made me look like an alien” (pg. 102, Ch. 16) is just one of the many sayings of little Miss Zora that made me laugh out loud. I could have sworn I thought the same thing at her age!

The Mistreatment of Zora Langston is a book of shocking revelations, and raw emotion. As adults, I believe we have a lot to learn from children like Zora. It is not just a book about her, but we also get to see how  adults view situations. How we stress over them, overcome them and react to them compared to how these same situations are viewed and experienced from the eyes of a child who is not yet an adult, but whose life is filled with adult themes. In this way,  debut Author Lisa Tetting proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that “it’s not the love that hurts; its the denial of love.”

Ratings:
Plot Movement / Strength: 4/5
Entertainment Factor: 4/5
Characterization: 5/5
Authenticity / Believable: 5/5
Thought Provoking: 4/5
Recommendation: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4/5

You can learn more about Lisa and Zora at:
Website: http://www.lisawtetting.com
Blog: https://rebirthoflisa.wordpress.com/

To Purchase The Mistreatment of Zora Langston, click on the picture below:

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