Sunday, 11 August 2013

Two inspirational biographies that everyone should hear (or read)

Since the fantastic Neverwhere which I blogged about several weeks ago, I've listened to several other audiobooks, some of which were good and two of which were particularly memorable. The two brilliant ones have similarities in that they are both autobiographies of strong women, both from East Africa, and both tremendously inspirational. However, the women have endured very different lives.

Slave by Mende Nazer with Damian Lewis, read by Adjoa Andoh, tells of her childhood in Sudan, a mostly idyllic life until, aged twelve, she was torn from her family in the middle of the night by Arab raiders who kidnapped many children to sell them into slavery. Mende was sent to a wealthy household in Khartoum where she was subject to cruelty, psychological abuse and regular beatings. This is a recent story which makes it all the more shocking. Mende was twelve in 1993 but managed to retain enough hope and courage to make her dramatic escape to a semblance of freedom in London seven years later.

Keeping Hope Alive by Dr Hawa Abdi with Sarah Robbins, read by Robin Miles, is the life story of a Somalian woman of amazing determination, strength of mind and self-belief. Dr Hawa Abdi managed to go  to Ukraine to train as her country's first female doctor. Returning to her beloved Somalia as soon as she qualified, she stood against traditional misogyny to found a clinic for women which became a hospital and, as civil war swept through Somalia, a home for up to 90,000 displaced people. Her story is an almost unbelievable struggle to keep her hospital, her refugee camp and her own family safe through decades of civil war in Somalia. I loved this book!

If you like similar books to the ones I read, please feel welcome to swap follows on Shelfari. I keep a record of all the books I read there and am always on the lookout for new recommendations! 

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