A Casualty of Power- Mukuka Chipanta

Review By Dakara Jane

But I’m innocent, I did nothing wrong!

At this point it is not a matter of guilt or innocence.

-A Casualty of power

If we’re all playing a game of cards, what does one do when the cards they are dealt look like they’re destined to ruin them? Let’s ask Hamoonga.

Born in poverty, at the mercy of the unfairness of life, Hamoonga manages to make his way to university where he is set to graduate and make something of his life. It should have been easy yet, at the book’s conclusion, Hamoonga has no degree to his name. What stopped him from finishing his studies? It wasn’t a lack of willingness on his part that stopped him from obtaining the education he and his family looked forward to; rather, it was that he met the wrong person at the wrong time.

Never trust a self made person until you know what they did to make it. It’s the lesson Hamoonga should’ve learned before he met Lulu, and one that stays with you after you’ve read the book. Is what happened fair? Did Hamoonga deserve it because he entertained Lulu when he had Maya at his side? Honestly, at first I thought what happened was punishment for his wandering eye but not two minutes into the situation did I find myself ready to advocate for Hamoonga’s rights! Out of all the books I have recommended to you, this is the best one yet! (Seriously, I’m not just saying this.)

As readers, we have the simple desire for the protagonist to either live in peace or die an honourable death. In A Casualty of Power, Chipanta takes you on an emotional rollercoaster where the only thing you want for the protagonist is justice. Caught in the middle of schemes he has no idea about, Hamoonga is dragged through hell and back before he is thrust into it forever. His life is stolen from him and he has

nothing to show for it— not even his character.

This is a book about corruption in a fictional society an yet the parallels between fiction and reality blur as Chipanta expertly combines the two such that you aren’t fully able to distinguish between them. He addresses the failure of cultural coexistence between the Chinese and the Zambians, as well as the social impact the mining contracts in question have made in the lives of the people. Who is at fault when things go unplanned in the mines? Is it the Chinese, or is it the Zambian government in Chipanta’s book that have failed the citizens? My contribution to this discussion is this: nothing in this book is ever as black or as white as it seems. The evidence of this is painfully demonstrated time and time again as Hamoonga’s life revolves around people who do not have good intentions towards him. It’s a never ending cycle of deceit, corruption, and power plays in this epic novel. You won’t want to put it down, and when you do you’ll have more commentary to give than you know what to do with.

I highly recommend you buy a copy of this phenomenal book and find out why I’m so excited! Visit the Weaver Press website: http://www.weaverpresszimbabwe.com to join in on the epic discussion the book offers. Alternatively, contact me if you have any questions regarding purchase. Let me know when you’ve read it, I’d love to discuss it!