A beautiful book about memories, dreams, nightmares, days of hunger, tell of the olden days who are passed on.
Nega writes about his childhood in a fast changing Ethiopia. And he writes it down with a good sense of humour.
He describes in fascinating detail his boyhood, the little tricks he plays on other people, his friendships, the teacher at school who tries to teach him the old Ethiopian alphabet, the old proverbs he tries to learn and use . When he gets older he struggles against the regime with its fixed ideas, he sides with Somali fighters, untill he finds out that in the end there is nothing to gain. .
Het gets the opportunity to study in Addis Abeba and from slose corners he sees the cruelty of a violent regime. One student after the other disappears from campus. He tries to keep quiet. He wants to get the support from his family. He takes up a position of teacher at a secondary school in a rural area.
And the he gets his break: a study abroad. He moves to Wageningen (The Netherlands) to study at a University specialised in agricultural studies. After finishing his studies he moves to Canada and applies for political asylum.
After the publication and the success of this book the ditor tried to claim his share in the honour. He said that in fact he had written the book. What followed was a long legal battle. Newa was the winner.
Nega Mezlekia – Notes from the Hyena’s Belly. Memories of my Ethiopian Boyhood – Canada 2000