Towela ‘Kams’ Tembo
The Scattering focuses on the displacement of the African people during the 1900’s in Southern Africa due to colonialism. It depicts the stories of two families endure the effects of forced migration. The writer centers the novel on three women in efforts to showcase the commonality of the female experience as a wife left to deal at the hands of war. Through the unraveling of each chapter, the author tends to consistently highlight the lack of communication and the uncertainty it brings. In addition, she speaks towards war’s impact on the offspring on the families by describing perspectives of three generations and their struggles. This approach results in the long-term considerations of actions and reactions as they unfold.
The female characters have diverse personalities but all yearn for the same thing – freedom. Though sharing in the same vision, they go about it in differently. This viewpoint helped explore how the hardship of women has a multifaceted impact, neither better than the other. In this way, the author achieved a brilliant portrayal of pain embodied in various coping mechanisms. It is therefore up to the reader to understand the individual stories of each woman in order to understand their decisions. On the other hand, the male characters of the story come across in
a more linear way – hard-working men with impressive work ethic yet aggressive towards their battle against the oppressor. The author chose to incorporate strong and most times harsh aspects of the male figure, possibly to showcase the impact of the threat of war on masculinity.
Lastly, this interesting read had a way of constantly redefining freedom in the context of self and/or circumstances. In most cases, the novel rendered the characters powerless and utterly broken, leaving the reader equally discouraged for a hopeful ending. Nevertheless, it boasted primarily of the presence of inhumanity in a descriptive and thought-provoking way. Overall, an informative read with a specific focus on the identity crisis of its characters. If formed a bigger picture of a historical period from and made it personal. This direction inspired hope and faith that made the novel’s ending worth the tormenting ride.