The African Dream
Helen’s father story about a disappeared city seems to have nothing extraordinary at the first glance. However, when I kept on reading the next chapters, I could not get rid of it from my mind. I went back, and it until several times I reread it again that I came to understand the meaning behind it.
Referring to page 129-131, the story sounds like a prophecy. It is not that Helen’s father is a prophet or whatsoever. The dream of the people best depicts and represents the Ugandan independence journey. The imagination of flowers blooming and a relaxing tea time portrays how Uganda people were hoping for a free, sovereign, and even prosperous country. But no one succeeded, or even took courageous actions to make the dreams came true.
Unfortunately, the British – “a young man who few people knew and no one trusted…” (130) – came along, and took away the Ugandan’s lives and power; leaving them without nothing to hold on. Although little Helen might have been too young to understand politics, the memory of his father’s story should be enough for her to reflect the fight that Isaac was going through, to reach the future that Africa was always longing for.
“…, and in a world where seeing was power, nostalgia meant nothing” (131).
Isaac’s intention to major in politics has also something to do with this particular quote. The unstable African politics as well as racial segregation during colonialism made the country was vulnerable. Although Isaac did not know Helen’s father personally, the quote was kind of connected to his mission for taking back Africa from the British before it was too late. Isaac could “see” that the instability and racism might divide Uganda, and even Africa to be the British puppet. On top of that, Isaac knows that his paper revolution is a leap of faith for Africa before the African dream of living in peace and harmony becomes nostalgia.