Slave: A True Account of Modern Slavery

Slave: A True Account of Modern Slavery

by Damien Lewis, Mende Nazer
     
 

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A shocking true story of contemporary slavery: a young girl, snatched from her tribal village in Africa, survives enslavement in Sudan and London before making a courageous escape to freedom.

Mende Nazer lost her childhood at age twelve, when she was sold into slavery. It all began one horrific night in 1993, when Arab raiders swept through her Nuba village,

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Overview

A shocking true story of contemporary slavery: a young girl, snatched from her tribal village in Africa, survives enslavement in Sudan and London before making a courageous escape to freedom.

Mende Nazer lost her childhood at age twelve, when she was sold into slavery. It all began one horrific night in 1993, when Arab raiders swept through her Nuba village, murdering the adults and rounding up thirty-one children, including Mende. .

Mende was sold to a wealthy Arab family who lived in Sudan's capital city, Khartoum. So began her dark years of enslavement. Her Arab owners called her "Yebit," or "black slave." She called them "master." She was subjected to appalling physical, sexual, and mental abuse. She slept in a shed and ate the family leftovers like a dog. She had no rights, no freedom, and no life of her own.

Normally, Mende's story never would have come to light. But seven years after she was seized and sold into slavery, she was sent to work for another master—a diplomat working in the United Kingdom. In London, she managed to make contact with other Sudanese, who took pity on her. In September 2000, she made a dramatic break for freedom.

Slave is a story almost beyond belief. It depicts the strength and dignity of the Nuba tribe. It recounts the savage way in which the Nuba and their ancient culture are being destroyed by a secret modern-day trade in slaves. Most of all, it is a remarkable testimony to one young woman's unbreakable spirit and tremendous courage.

Author Biography: Mende Nazer is approximately twenty-three years old (the Nuba keep no record of birth dates). She was granted political asylum by the British government in 2003. She currently lives in London. Damien Lewis is a British journalist who has reported widely from Sudan and helped Mende escape. He lives in Dublin, Ireland.

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Editorial Reviews

Denver Post
Nazer tells her story of individual dignity combined with uncommon courage.
The Washington Post
If the experiences Nazer recounts here prove true, they will stand as an important reminder of the real, lived terrors of thousands of black southern Sudanese whose stories will never be told, and whose freedom may never be won. — Alex P. Kellogg
Publishers Weekly
Born into the Karko tribe in the Nuba mountains of northern Sudan, Nazer has written a straightforward, harrowing memoir that's a sobering reminder that slavery still needs to be stamped out. The first, substantial section of the book concentrates on Nazer's idyllic childhood, made all the more poignant for the misery readers know is to come. Nazer is presented as intelligent and headstrong, and her people as peaceful, generous and kind. In 1994, around age 12 (the Nuba do not keep birth records), Nazer was snatched by Arab raiders, raped and shipped to the nation's capital, Khartoum, where she was installed as a maid for a wealthy suburban family. (For readers expecting her fate to include a grimy factory or barren field, the domesticity of her prison comes as a shock.) To Nazer, the modern landscape of Khartoum could not possibly have been more alien; after all, she had never seen even a spoon, a mirror or a sink, much less a telephone or television set. Nazer's urbane tormentors-mostly the pampered housewife-beat her frequently and dehumanized her in dozens of ways. They were affluent, petty and calculatedly cruel, all in the name of "keeping up appearances." The contrast between Nazer's pleasant but "primitive" early life and the horrors she experienced in Khartoum could hardly be more stark; it's an object lesson in the sometimes dehumanizing power of progress and creature comforts. After seven years, Nazer was sent to work in the U.K., where she contacted other Sudanese and eventually escaped to freedom. Her book is a profound meditation on the human ability to survive virtually any circumstances. Agent, Felicity Bryan. (Jan.) Forecast: President Bush's condemnation of the slave trade at the U.N. in September and the recent release of Francis Bok's very similar Escape from Slavery: The True Story of My Ten Years in Slavery-and My Journey to Freedom in America (Forecasts, Oct. 6) may spark increased curiosity in this urgent subject. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The shockingly grim story of how the author became a slave at the end of the 20th century—mercifully, it has an ending to lift the spirit. In 1994, at the age of 12, Nazer was plucked from her Nuba mountain village in the Sudan, thrown across the saddle of an Arab raider from the north while other marauders burned her village and killed the adults, then raped and delivered to the underground chamber of a slave trader. Things got only worse, especially in comparison to her memories of childhood in her village (except for the circumcision she underwent, told with a vividness that will make readers squirm). Nazer was sold to a dreadful family in Khartoum, where the terms of her servitude were quickly made clear. "No days off, no holiday, no wages," the mistress of the house explained to a friend. "She’s always here. She belongs to me." The mistress was also fond of beating Nazer for the slightest infraction: "You don’t know how to behave unless you’re whipped," she would say, while slapping and kicking the girl. Remarkably, Nazer retained, between cringes, the wide-eyed curiosity of youth about things never seen: cars, mirrors, telephones. But terror was never far away for a girl in her situation, and Nazer heart-wrenchingly describes the ragged unpredictability of beatings, the crowding thoughts of home, the repulsive food, and the drear of daily toil. Sent to London to work for her mistress’s sister, the wife of a Sudanese diplomat, Nazer manages to contact a fellow Nuban who helps her to escape and gets her a lawyer. Incredibly, given the Sudanese government’s obvious collaboration in her enslavement, British authorities initially denied Nazer’s request for political asylum. Theensuing public outcry changed their minds, and she now lives in London. Revelatory in the truest sense of the word: told with a child-pure candor that comes like a bucket of cold water in the lap. Agent: Emma Parry/Fletcher & Parry

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781586482121
Publisher:
PublicAffairs
Publication date:
01/06/2004
Pages:
368
Product dimensions:
5.82(w) x 8.48(h) x 0.55(d)

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