Role reversals at a school in Bulawayo

2009-09-16 00:00

BOOK REVIEW

The English Teacher

John EppelJacana

IF this is meant to be satire, it doesn’t work very well, and the comment on the back cover that it is a “welcome contribution to the literature of the region” is surprising. The hero of the tale, Mr George J. George, teaches English at the Boys and Girls Come Out to Play Secondary School in Bulawayo­ and the reader is asked to accept that after a drink or two he mistakes his Ford Escort for the moon. Many of his lessons are a mixture of pedantic waffle about trochaic­ tetrameter and what are often­ unnecessary allusions to sex.

When he backs the uninsured Escort into a new Mercedes owned by a black woman MP called Beauticious, an unlikely role reversal arises. In the out of court settlement, George loses his house to the woman and becomes her domestic servant.

He may be highly intelligent and widely read, but from here on he becomes little more than a loser communicating in Fanagalo with Beauticious, who has a friend called Titty, wearing a fez and living in the servant’s quarters of the house which he once owned. Interestingly, George cooks well and the author enjoys describing his culinary expertise.

The pace changes when George finds a little girl lying in the road outside the gate. He hides her in his kia, calls her Polly Petal and prepares little meals to sustain her. When he decides to return her to the mission from whence he concludes she has come, she and George walk off into the sunset hand in hand with our hero­ becoming more and more sick in a poetic sort of way.

He delivers the child safely, and then climbs into what remains of the enclosure where his grandmother had been born, where he dies. Stirring­ stuff.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.