Beneath the Tamarind Tree: A Story of Courage, Family, and the Lost Schoolgirls of Boko Haram

Dey St: HarperCollins. Jul. 2019. 400p. notes. ISBN 9780062686671. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062686626. POL SCI
Award-winning journalist and CNN Africa correspondent Sesay sets out to “prick the world’s conscience,” detailing the kidnapping of 276 girls on April 14, 2014, from the Government Girls State School in Chibok, Nigeria, by members of the terrorist organization Boko Haram. Sesay provides an account of the girls’ time in captivity, as related by members of the group of 21 girls freed in 2016. The author also narrates her own account against the backdrop of the Chibok girls’ story, recalling the challenges inherent in navigating the rampant misogyny of Nigerian politics as a black, female reporter, while recounting her personal mission to see the Chibok girls reunited with their families, despite frequent challenges and setbacks. Sesay further sheds light on the events surrounding the rise of Boko Haram and its campaign against education, particularly women’s education across the north of Nigeria, revealing the lack of reporting on African affairs beyond the continent and illuminating the role of African politics in the global arena.
VERDICT Great for readers who want to learn more about African gender politics, the history of Boko Haram, and women in the media.

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