As Lando, aged ten, emerges from the confessional booth, the reader is already embarked on an epic journey. The crossing of the first European around the Cape of South Africa in 1488 had significantly altered the course of history for part of Asia and much of Africa. The Author conveniently sets the scene with a map and short prologue connecting the dots of history.
The cultural transformation of the people of Goa by the Portuguese, and the enslavement of Africans, particularly to the Americas and the Caribbean, is followed by in 1884, by the parceling of more than eleven and a half million square miles of Africa to seven European colonial powers, including Britain.
Precocious Lando is born in British-ruled Kenya to Goan parents just as WWII breaks out in Europe. His parents are among those who flocked to East Africa from their native Portuguese India, lured with promises of a bright future. To British colonialists, the “Westernized Christian Indians” suited their needs perfectly.
Lando’s family and community struggle to keep their Indo-Portuguese heritage and Catholic faith alive in a Kenya dominated by the ugly reality of racial segregation based on colour. The ‘browns’ that include: Catholics, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, and Zoroastrians (Parsees) are sandwiched between the white rulers and the black indigenous population.
But Lando’s world is also filled with adventure, and readers will be transported in dhows and steamships across the Indian Ocean, and on land by ox-drawn carts, steam locomotives right along with the characters as events unfold.
Ultimately, to fulfill his father’s dreams, the eleven-year-old must embark on the biggest adventure of his life: journeying to distant Goa to attend a Jesuit-run boarding school—and then engineering his escape back to Africa.
Beyond the Cape – the first in the Matata Trilogy - brings vividly to life the alluring sights, sounds, and smells of mid-twentieth century East Africa. The book is filled to the brim with evocative, multi-layered stories steeped in colonial history—stories that are alternately funny, sad, and touching as Lando grapples with the complexities of straddling two distinctly different worlds.
About the Author
His journey into the literary world did not start until after his return to Canada. He studied Creative Writing at George Brown College and later attended the Mentorship program at Humber College.