“Makeda” is the story of a man who throughout his life had a very close relationship with his blind grandmother (Makeda). As he comes of age and then goes to university, he becomes more and more aware that certain dreams his grandmother has had, and continues to have, reveal historically true events that took place in Africa and to people of African descent. As he researches his grandmother’s dreams, he slowly finds his own identity as an African American and can view the situation African Americans are in from a completely different perspective.
I read this book while being on a service trip building latrines in Honduras. Poor and oppressed people all around the world face so many obstacles that are both external and imposed from the outside and relatively easily seen as well as internal, subtle and much more hidden ones. This book illumines both kinds of obstacles and is especially powerful in revealing to the reader the kind of trauma that those who wield power in the world would have a hard time ever understanding. There are several nuggets of wisdom in this book that I will keep with me.
This book puts in perspective the very brief (and terribly brutal) time of European and US dominance in world history versus the advanced civilizations in Africa that European-centric history tends to be ignorant of, dismiss or ignore.
Three words that describe this book: illuminating, thought-provoking, powerful
You might want to pick this book up if: Ideally everyone should read this. This novel explains many things about race relations in this country and about African American identity that cannot be explained by facts and figures or newspaper articles. At the same time there is wisdom that anyone who is living in our highly individualistic and divided society can carry in their hearts for a long time.