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A Fine Madness
A Fine Madness is Mashingaidze Gomo’s masterful work of great poignancy—a poetic narrative that transcends the physical battlefield to depict Africa at a postcolonial crossroads where difficult choices must be made. The writer exploits poetry’s closeness to the African oral tradition and its capacity to carry unlimited and complex semantic baggage to give a common soldier’s cosmic perspective of the African problem through a Zimbabwean prism. Flights over the theatre of war become metaphoric flights over African historical experience which time has twisted into a pattern of violence. Mercy missions are depicted as a chase after the ideal of international justice, which the double standards of the new world order have turned into an ever-receding horizon for a destitute postcolonial Africa. Concepts of responsible African leadership, sovereignty, economic independence, democracy, racism and international relations are interrogated in the light of this conviction. Rising political turbulence in Zimbabwe and the chronic instability of the Great Lakes region emerge as recurrent characteristics of the African historical context. The novel can be said to be continuing the critical tradition already established by such works as Franz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth, Aimé Césaire’s Discourse on Colonialism and Okot p’Bitek’s Song of Lawino & Song of Ocol. A Fine Madness was crafted from diary entries made during Gomo’s experiences of war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Gomo’s first novel is a must read and features a Preface by Ngugi wa Thiong’o.
“This is a masterful work… I found it powerful, as powerful as the fiction of the early Marechera.” – Simon Gikandi.
The author painstakingly spreads Africa’s colonial past over the neocolonial present to show an intriguing tendency for human tragedy to keep piling on the same sites of struggle, as selfish human interests keep intervening to preclude lasting solutions for everyone’s benefit. It is uncompromising in its message of a fairer deal for Africa and presents a hopeful world vision that will engage open minds in interesting dialogue.
This book will have a wide appeal for the general reader interested in novels tracing colonial and post-colonial history, Africa’s international relations, African popular culture and the continuing debates about Africa’s unequal relationship with the West and the rest of the developed world.
Mashingaidze Gomo was born in 1964 in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), third in a family of eight where he was raised during the struggle for Zimbabwean independence. He joined the Airforce of Zimbabwe in 1984 as an aircraft engines apprentice and later joined 7 Squadron as an Alouette 111 helicopter technician and gunner in Mozambique where Zimbabwean Defence Forces protected the fuel pipelines from Beira during the Mozambique civil war. He returned to the Zimbabwean Airforce School of Technical Training as an instructor in aircraft engines and later served in the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). After the DRC, he completed a BA degree in English and Communications. In 2007, he retired from the Airforce to study for a BA (Hons) degree in Fine Arts (Chinhoyi University of Technology) and to pursue a life in the arts. Gomo is married with three children and lives in Zimbabwe.