Once We Were Comrades
Liberation struggles are born first out of necessity
Any populace facing the unjustness of a colonial government, or the strictures of a dictatorial state, will eventually rise up to overthrow these heinous regimes.
But a liberation movement’s most challenging times often follow once the fighting is over and governing begins.
“You might think that deposing the Adema regime is a difficult task. But wait until Azamata is free and you are in government, then you will realize that fighting for freedom is far less difficult than maintaining it,” says Lexington Mawewe, the founding father of the Azamata Revolutionary People’s Party (ARPP) in Maqetuka’s new revolutionary saga, Once we were comrades. Both a valuable and highly readable addition to the struggle lexicon, this novel underlines how the high-minded and righteous ideals of liberation movements can founder on the shores of broken promises; if the people’s expectations of improved living conditions are not met.
And this pitfall, plus a disconnect between the values and policies of the ARPP’s old guard and an ambitious new leader — who eventually takes the party to government in Azamata — form some of the book’s main themes.
Yet, there is also much intrigue in-between. From freedom fighter Tornado Mdumbe’s heroic antics to the tragedy that befalls young Thole Msibi, the drama does not let up.