Synopsis: Asad has a very human story – one of love, loss and tragedy. But despite the multiple lows of life that he faces, Asad is determined to make a success of his life. After fleeing the civil war in Somalia, Asad believes that South Africa is the place to build a brighter future.
“Either we fought or we die”
Review: If you want to know about the “other side of the story” then this is the book for you. As a South African living in Cape Town and working in the CBD, I’m exposed to various people, cultures and accents on a daily basis. In a country with 11 official languages it’s still easy to spot a foreign national, either by their accent or clothes, I can point them out. I hear locals talking about how “they are taking our jobs” and “bringing in crime”, but do we really know what they have been through? Jonny Steinberg tells that story. Through a series of interviews, Asad’s story is captured and then told to the reader.
Be prepared to have South African society and culture reflected back to you – racisms, violence, ignorance and all. This is the story you won’t find on the news or in the newspapers, this is a real man with a real life.
Be prepared to reassess your own views of foreign nationals and the ease with which you judge those you don’t understand. In Jonny’s epilogue you’ll be forced to think about your own understanding of what it means to listen and hear, and how we listen for what we want to hear instead of what is actually there.
“And when talk is given freedom it goes everywhere. You find out about so many lives, about so may things”