Zahrah the Windseeker follows the journey of Zahrah, born as something of an oddity with ‘dada’ hair, as she struggles with the alienation that comes with being different. It details her inner conflict at the beginning, her physical, emotional and mental development as she progressed, and her eventual acceptance of whom and what she really is at maturity – a windseeker.
Written in the mold of Lewis Carol’s ‘Alice in Wonder’ but with the African in mind and a more serious theme, it brings the story to life with recognizable myths, animals, places, objects set in ‘unnatural’ situations.
Nnedi Okorafor – Mbachu delivers a compelling tale that deals with a variety of issues including the pressure to conform and bullying, coming of age and its attendant emotional rollercoaster, the seeming lack of emotional intelligence in African parents, friendship and loyalty, self-belief, sacrifice, loyalty and duty, and the inherent fear of exploring beyond our set ‘boundaries’ as people. In the same breath, one can even relate the false conviction of Ooni people about their own uniqueness as the only people underneath the sky to that of those who see mankind as the only intelligent ‘species’ in a largely unexplored universe.
My take from the book is that curiosity will get you very far in life, and there’s a lot to gain only if you dare. We don’t know what is out there simply because we haven’t ventured far enough from our comfort zone.
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