Sunday, 10 January 2016

Review: The Sabi by Diane Brown #Africa #Memoir

The Blurb
She does not know how, but has a sabi from her earliest memory that she was different. What she does know is that 'difference' had currency in the past, and it certainly still has currency today. The Sabi will have an effect on you - have no doubt about that. In her debut novel, Diane Brown takes a scenic and open-eyed walk down memory lane to the 1960's when apartheid was in full swing to the early 1990's when South Africa was beginning to sense freedom. She ventures further back in time to help solve the puzzle of the current time, how did South Africa become so angry and so violent? Writing from the heart to relate the events of her childhood and adolescence, the author takes you on a journey that will make you cry and laugh along with her as she tried to make sense of her life, the people around her and the system into which she was born. She is no doubt left extremely vulnerable and exposed in relating this account of her life. This honesty is anchored in an easy writing style which is deeply reflective, with an acute sense of contextual reasoning. She reflects on the news of the day in a 'free' country, tainted with the heavy stench of death, violence and abuse and notes that all too familiar script. She finally realises... Her story must be told.

Themes covered in this book: Race, Colorism, Violence, South Africa, Apartheid, Acceptance, Prejudice, Coming-of-age, Love, Liberation

My Review
I don’t usually read memoirs, but was compelled after encountering it on one of my favorite blogs (Mary Okeke Reviews). The story was incredibly sad and yet amazingly inspiring at the same time. Life for some people can be so difficult and seeing how they make it through can give an inordinate amount of hope.

Life in South Africa during apartheid could never be described as easy unless a person was white. For the ‘colored’ it was easier than for the blacks. I learned a bit a bit of South African History through this story and even more about their race relations and how people tended to see each other.

I’ll be honest, there were many aspects of the book that riled my anger because life for so many was unfair for so long. I could feel the truth in her experience and those of others.

Ms. Brown’s writing was smooth and engaging. It left me with a few questions, Such as ‘How in the world had she ended up so well adjusted after living the life she’d lived’.

A wonderful read for those who are curious about how South Africa got into their state of racial division and how it was maintained for so long. All with a mix of Ms. Brown’s personalized experiences thrown in to spice up the story.

I give this book five out five chocolate bars (white, milk, and dark).

I purchased this book from Amazon.


  1. Nana, what a nice review you have here, thank you for the shout-out! I am more than glad that you enjoyed this novel.


    1. It was a deep book. Thanks for introducing me to it.


I love reading your comments.