Slave: A True Account of Modern Slavery

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 ...

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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: 1/6/2004
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 5.82 (w) x 8.48 (h) x 0.55 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2005

    Left speechless ...

    I heard about this book on the Oprah show. I must confess it sat on a shelf in my library for a year before I finally picked it up to read. From the first page I could not put it down! I was shocked, sickened, saddened and shamed at what Mende went through ... and that it should be happening today, in a supposed enlightened world, right under our very noses. How appalling that is! Mende's life in her beloved Nuba Mountains shows what truly gentle and peaceful human lives are being snuffed out savagely through genocide ... or slowly through the tortures of slavery. I have been deeply affected by this book. My eyes have been opened wider than I would have wished, but I know I will refuse to keep them closed again!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2004

    Puts our lives in perspective

    I just finished reading this book yesterday. I had never heard of the story or the author. I just saw the cover in the library and borrowed it. The story is astonishing, heartbreaking, and triumphant all at once. I was heartened that Mende Nazar still had enough spirit to push on and experience the kindness of good people in the world. May God Bless her and all who supported and continue to support her in her journey. I was blessed to read this book because I was once again reminded that my life and how it turns out will be a fantastic journey as long as I remain hopeful and undeterred. Shame on the previous reviewer for being so hateful towards this woman's story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2004

    A book of lies

    This and other books that accuse Sudan of slavery are just an attack. This is a pathetic way of pointing fingers so that other countries look better than this one. The story is invalid and the writer is obviously prejudiced against Arabs. This proves that false statements, rumors, and lies have gone way too far in today's world.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2004

    The Saddest Book Ever.........!

    I think this is a really sad & depressing book.It's a really,really,really SAD book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2004

    Could Not Put This One Down

    I had no idea when I started this book that I would not be able to put it down. I read it in almost one sitting. Mende Nazer's story of her young years with her family in the Nuba region of Sudan and later on her years as a young teenage slave was heartbreaking but at the same time it showed how strong her parents' early influence was. The fact that she did not become bitter toward her oppressors and still looks forward to so much is the lasting impression with which I came away. I did not think that this story of modern day slavery was depressing. Instead it showed the power of the human spirit and it also demonstrated for me how little I know of what is going on in the world and that there is so much room for improvement. First, however, we have to be made aware on a human level and then hopefully we can contribute.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2004

    When will it ever stop?

    I read Ms. Nazer's book with the same degree of dread as when I read Francis Bok's book. Their tales of abduction are so similar. These people cause chaos and death and snatch the young ones away. Ms. Nazer was able, miraculously, to escape the bondage. These 'slave' owners keep the enslaved ignorant with no knowledge of the outside world. We, who have known only freedom, find it inconceivable that slavery still exists, but it indeed does, right under our noses. I remember someone saying that when people hold others down in bondage, they themselves are kept down with them. All of us ARE our brothers keeper and responsible for each other.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2004

    WONDERFUL

    This is a great book. It's amazing how Mende survived at all. It is real inspirational. I highly recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2004

    sad, but true

    Journalist Damien Lewis, Slave's co-author, helped Nazer publicize her story in order to advance her asylum claim with the British government. Sensational memoirs have proliferated in the last several years, but few are as starkly powerful as this one: Nazer tells her story with lucid simplicity, deftly evoking her earlier self to convey that girl's innocence, violent loss, and compromise with survival. What comes across as almost more tragic than her physical and psychological exploitation is the toll it takes on her faith: Nazer and her abductors, captors, and masters are all Muslims, yet everyone is constantly reminded of where she stands. The slave trade still flourishes in some parts of the world, and Slave's real gut-punch arrives in its revelations about slavery in first-world urban settings, behind the doors of high-class immigrant communities. Nazer says she still hopes to return to her village as a doctor, when she can be sure the powerful slave network won't retaliate for her public stance. It's appropriate, then, that her book performs a kind of surgery, inflicting pain and healing in equal measure.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2004

    Shocking story of an unimaginable childhood

    I could not put this boook down. I was completely shocked and sickened at the fact that there are people out there in the world that could treat a human being so badly. The courage that Mende has is amazing. To be taken from her family at such a young age, brutalized, humiliated and abused year after year, and having to keep wondering if your family is alive. Mende is an amazing person.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2004

    Slave: A True Account of Modern Slavery

    A mind-boggling true story of a child's suffering and survival. Mende Nazar should be commended for her courage to tell this heartbreaking story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2004

    Slavery Lives

    ¿Slave¿ is a powerful tale that will enlighten the reader¿s awareness of the present day atrocity of slavery, which still haunts many in Africa today. Though some may argue that the author¿s experience pales in comparison to the experience of those slaves who spent an entire lifetime in bondage, the mere fact that such horrendous acts still occur today should be reason enough to shock and disgust you. This book will no doubt sadden and anger you. It will also motivate many into action to fight against the horrors of slavery in the 21st Century. Most importantly, it should cause one to celebrate the everyday freedom we take for granted.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2004

    Slave: A True Account of Modern Slavery

    An amazingly heartbreaking story of suffering and survival. Mende Nazar should be commended for her grace and courage in telling this mind-boggling true story to the world.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2004

    A story of enslavement that is timely and honest

    Written in pure, simple and honest prose obviously from the heart, this memoir is very unique. First of all learning about Arab riders who burn down villages, murder men and women and capture young girls and boys was certainly eye opening. My mind had trouble grasping that this is occurring as I am writing this. Mende's description of life in her village before her capture, of all of the love and community she felt there and how the villagers coexisted in peace, was beautifully described. She obviously has great love for her famiy and relatives as well as the Nuba mountains. The horror of her rape and enslavement must have been wrenching for her to write but she is obviuosly a very strong woman and wants not only to be granted permanent asylum in London but to stop the continued slavery. Her treatment by her owner was gruesome and so malicious its hard to grasp. Her constant hope for the future is inspiring. This is a very intelligent, gifted writer who should have a brilliant future. I think this is a memoir that needs to be read by as many readers as possible, it is timely and important.

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