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Book Review – Paper Sons And Daughters


by Ufrieda Ho (Picador Africa) ISBN 978-1-77010-168-5

This book begins with the arrival of Chinese people with illegal papers, to South Africa. These immigrants were hoping for a better life. They were escaping the terrible hardships endured in China.

However, South Africa was not the Golden Mountain they had envisioned, as more trauma and hardship ensued. The practice of their culture held the Chinese immigrants together. This thought-provoking book looks at how Apartheid affected the Chinese.

Despite the difficulties, the author’s parents managed to raise their children, and helped them to be educated and disciplined adults.

Ufrieda Ho was always afraid that her father would not return home at night, and later her worst fear was realised.

The story shows the transition to the new South Africa, which brings its own challenges and heightens the frustrations of Chinese citizens who still  feel they do not belong. The story concludes with a nostalgic heartfelt letter to her father.

It is an insightful personal view of facts and feelings, written in an easy-to-read style.

Dawn Blankfield
4/5