That’s the title of the book that I have just finished reading by Chika Unigwe. If you get the chance I highly recommend it. Here is a review of the book.
While I was in Nairobi I visited all the book stores I could remember. One had been closed but the rest were still there. Some kind folks here on this blog had recommeded a few books and so off I went armed with my list to purchase these books, only to find that what people call a novel is what I call a story. There was no way I was going to pay Ksh 500 for a book that was 20 pages long; case in point “On the highway to Dandora” or something like that. If I am to pay that amount of money the book as to be at least 280 pages strong.
“On Black Sisters’ Street” left me reeling. The whole african prostitute in Europe fascinates and intrigues me. I shared my experience of it here. As the years went by and I moved from that town to another, I have not interacted with theladies. Now and then I do bump into the owner of the saloon, which she since shut down because it was not profitable but I did find out she has a brothel in the town where I work. Looking at her, you would never believe it. Last time I saw her she was looking much better than the previous time I had seen her. Then she had taken to the bottle, was running the saloon and holding down her job and the brothel. When I last met her it was on the bus and she looked much better. She had married some old old muzungu who was taking care of her. She still had her job _(was actually on her way to work). After reading this book, I wonder about her brothel and the girls she has and…… yeah I wonder
I have been reading interviews of Chika Unigwe about this book and the research involved. I find myself agreeing with her when she says one of the lessons she took away while researching the book was the whole judging of people. Until one really knows what it is like to walk in another’s shoes and the why’s of one’s decisions, we cannot really judge or hold one in contempt. It is humbling to realise that none of us chooses the circumstances we are born into. Sometimes those circmstances force us to make choices that those born into better have the luxury of saying “I would never do that, no matter what”…
I am rumbling.. to quote Madiba “poverty strips a man of his dignity”
In ending, I would just like to say that it would be nice to get some more “happy ever after” endings from African authors. Over the holidays I read Chimamande Ngozi’s “Purple Hibiscus”, “Half the Yellow Sun” and now “On Black Sister’s Street” then the other book by another Nigerian novelist…eish please.. some more happy endings please.. that is how I like my stories.