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Reviews - Cook Communication

Speak Swahili, Dammit!, by James Penhaligon

This book by a consulting psychiatrist in the UK is a cSpeak Swahili, Dammit!hronicle of the author's life in a small town near Mwanza, Tanzania. As a child and as a youth, James was so close to local people that he learned Swahili better than he learned English. Naturally, as a youth, people were shocked to hear him speaking the language of local workers.

As a chronology, the book splices together a multiplicity of scenes from the author's memory, giving  superb picture of life in Mwanza. Further, it captures the youth's occasional awkwardness and sensitivities. At the same time, it captures a rambling quality so that readers feel less suspense than they might if the story had been written as a novel.

Having visited Mwanza, I must credit James for the accuracy of his description and remarkable honesty in his descriptions.

- Review by Bruce Cook, PhD