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Dancing To The Beat Of The Drum



DANCING TO THE BEAT OF THE DRUM
 
PAMELA NOMVETE
 
KWELA BOOKS
 
ISBN 9 780795 706875
 
 
The reason why certain people put pen to paper is because we’re often told everyone has a book in them; they have a story waiting to be told.
More often than not, it’s a lie. Some life stories deserve to be hidden from view.
Pamela Nomvete’s autobiography is one great exception.
There are lessons – by the bucketful – to be learned from this simply narrated tale. The simpler it is to read, the literature gods tell us – the harder it was to write. This is proof.
After sustained prodding by those close to her she relented. The end-result is a fine lesson in hitting rock bottom in life, dusting oneself up and picking up the baton to try again.
Sometimes, dear reader, you will want to cry; you will want to take up cudgels on her behalf – protect her. Such is the power of her story that she makes the reader empathise, feel her pain.
She was born to struggle veteran Bax Nomvete who skipped the country to go take up his place in the annals of the history of the fight against Apartheid.
She could easily call Addis Ababa home but then again early schooling in Cheltenham in Britain accords this English town a special place in her heart.
But so does Lusaka, Zambia.
And Johannesburg!
She came back to the country in 1994, like all returning exiles fixated on the idea of rebuilding a new country from the ruins of apartheid.
A trained thespian, she landed what could easily have been the biggest post-apartheid television role in the land, that of Ntiski Lukhele on the popular soapie Generations.
She lived this role; she was believable as the heartless bitch so much so that an odd fan gave her a hop klap when she ran into ‘Ntsiki’ at a shopping mall.
As this A-list actress, she was living her dream.
But unlucky in love, her personal life wasn’t a perfect script. She attracted the wrong kind of men into her space.
One of these she married.
It soon turned out that being married to him – she calls him Farai in the book – meant she was wed to the mob, his extended family from his native Zimbabweans, leeches who sucked her dry. 
Her marriage should be in the syllabus of abuse and terrible spousal relationships so young women – and young men – should learn from her mistakes.
There is no better material than this 200-page book.
A successful actress who starred in such productions as Zulu Love Letter, Nothing But The Truth and the hot movie Sometimes in April, Nomvete was a pitiable sight in the face of ill-treatment by her husband, putty in his hands.
You will get angry at her inability to wake up and, so to speak, smell the coffee but you will also rejoice with her when she finally plucks up the courage to walk out and file for divorce.
It is the uncomplicated writing style that allows the reader to sleep with her in her Mercedes-Benz on the grounds of a petrol station where she makes friends, her only true friends during her darkest hour.
The fight against the scourge of women abuse is not a lofty ideal as embodied by the speeches of bureaucrats who’ve never felt the pinch of the shoe – winning it comes from hearing the stories of survivors like Pamela Nomvete.
What is the bigger point of this book? Well, there are several but one that stands out is that when you fall, you do not stay down for the count – you rise!
Down and out is not an option.   
This is one story that deserves an autobiography – and some awards.
 
 
 
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