Thabisile Gumede
1 minute read
1 Feb 2008

Dreams that shape lives

Thabisile Gumede

THABISILE GUMEDE reviews Beginnings of a Dream by Zachariah Rapola. Jacana Media.

If you have read and enjoyed the flirtatious humour and vivid surrealist imagery and mythological figures contained in the writings of South African author Zakes Mda and Nigerian author Ben Okri, combined with the philosophy of Deepak Chopra, you will fall in love with the creativity of Zachariah Rapola who merges the talents of these authors to project his personal narrative voice.

Beginnings of a Dream is about exactly that – the beginning, end and power our dreams have in shaping our lives. Rapola poetically narrates the dreams of both young and old using 11 short stories about various social ills like drug abuse, HIV/Aids, crime, apartheid, etc.

Throughout the book you are bound to learn one philosophical interpretation of a dream, like birth is the beginning of dreams or that sleep is a temporary death where we are reborn into a spiritual world where we are visited by our ancestors. Each of the short stories is told through a fusion of Rapola’s mother tongue, Sepedi, with colloquial township lingo and English terms which allow the reader to closely identify with the characters. He narrates the dreams of the elderly whose desire is to pass on their legacy to their grandchildren, a people who leave the city life to seek refuge in the quiet of rural areas when their dreams are not fulfilled, how others are haunted by messages they receive in their dreams, while others lose their ability to dream altogether. This fusion of harsh realism and fantasia has a lesson for everyone.