The life of Mpho ‘M’atsepo Nthunya, told with startling clarity in a series of simple but vivid stories, is an inspiration to anyone who has known only the comparative affluence of Western culture, and a unique document from a member of a group whose voice is almost never heard – Africa’s most underprivileged majority.
Born into grinding poverty in the rapidly changing world of Lesotho, Mpho’s story reflects the lives of vast numbers of people who have seen their traditional pastoral way of life give way to the forces of modern urban civilisation. She has been so hungry and so poor that she has had to eat grass; she has seen her children die without knowing why; she has endured cruelty, theft, apartheid and unremitting hard work. Yet never once does she ask for our pity or suggest that fate has given her a raw deal.
Told orally to a Fulbright scholar who was struck by Mpho’s natural storytelling ability, Singing Away the Hunger is an affirmation of life, a triumph of the human spirit and an utterly memorable account of the culture and beliefs of a society now faced with formidable challenges if it is to find its feet in the modern world.
“Much more than an ordinary autobiography. Her tales endow her own life and that of her own country with the compelling rhythm of myth”
“Here, like a candle shining in the dark, is a little book with a tale of life in Lesotho that captivates by its simple charm… The light of her courage illuminates the book, showing her resilience and independence. It’s a rare book, a triumph.”