Dandelions-weeds. Something unwanted, something to be uprooted. The year is 1972, and this is exactly how Africans in Uganda view anyone with Indian blood. They feel they have been oppressed by the Indians for too long, and it’s time to get their land back. Then the president, Idi Amin, has a dream: God wants him to ‘weed’ Uganda. So he does. He gives the Indians 90 days to get out. Any that remain after the countdown will be sent to concentration camps, or worse. Thus begins a period of panic, terror, and sorrow, and thus begins “Child of Dandelions”, a novel by Shenaaz Nanji. Sabine, a fifteen year old Indo-African girl, witnesses and experiences how bitterness and prejudice damage families and relationships. Throughout the countdown her situation and those of Indians around her become worse and worse. She must discover if she really has courage, if she is her father’s “brave boy”, and if her friendships can survive tough trials.
The subject matter is interesting, but the writing style makes the story captivating. Often using Indian and African words, Nanji captures the culture, and brings it all alive. Through Sabine, she shows that it is not necessary to be disrespectful, reckless, and disobedient to be a real teen, and through her writing style proves that you don’t need to add foul language or sexual content to hold a teenager’s attention. “Child of Dandelions” is a great book that I will be recommending to many.