An African Friendship
Publication Date: April 14, 2009
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Set in the volatile Rhodesia of the 1960s, this dramatic story, narrated from alternating viewpoints, tells of an interracial friendship tested.
Like his best friend, Blessing — a Shona boy whose father is his church’s pastor — twelve-year-old Evan, a white American, lives on a Methodist mission in what is now Zimbabwe. Blessing attends the mission school for black Africans, while Evan goes to a whites-only boys’ school in town. As Martin Luther King Jr. marches a world away, local headlines announce the murder of a white farmer by African independence fighters. Evan’s school friends immediately side with the whites, the headmaster turns them into cadets in training, and soon incendiary handbills are circulating. As tensions mount both on and off the mission, Evan is forced to choose. But how can he know how farreaching his choice will be?
Carolyn Marsden is the acclaimed author of many books for young readers. While herparents were missionaries in Mexico, her cousin (and coauthor) Philip Matzigkeit’s parents were missionaries in Rhodesia. She lives in La Jolla, California.
Philip Matzigkeit grew up in rural Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). He lives in La Jolla, California and is an instructor at San Diego State University.