4 out of 5 stars
Share This Review
Year of the Mantis is a work of historical fiction written by D. Later that is set mostly in the year 1985 and tells the story of the events leading up to a state of emergency that occurred in South Africa during the Apartheid era. You follow along with Lerumo Molefe on his mission to exact vengeance and free South Africans from the control of the terrible Apartheid system in 1985.
The visuals breathed life into the text that was written in the style of a comic book. You get a sense of the feelings that are being emitted by the characters, and the heinous deeds were depicted in excruciating detail. This book contains explicit depictions of extreme violence, racism, and other forms of oppression, as well as sex, nudity, and profanity. Additionally, the author sprinkled relevant newspaper headlines with dates throughout the text of the book wherever they were required. Following the story is a collection of additional information as well as an art book titled "At the End of the Rainbow" by Joel Tshepo Sebothoma. The art was stunning in its own right.
My sole criticism of the book is that I believe an essential page was omitted between pages 57 and 58. This is the only problem I had with it. What took place between the two locations is something I wish I had known more about.
I, for one, am thankful to have read this. Since I was born in South Africa after the year 1985, the government has kept the information regarding the apartheid era in our country hidden from the public, and people don't tend to discuss it openly. I know that a lot of individuals have conflicting feelings regarding the time of apartheid. For example, some of the people who lived on the terrible side of apartheid have claimed that it was a better time compared to now since everyone knew they had a place to live and food back then, and there wasn't as much crime as there is now. But this does not mean that they agreed with Apartheid. However, this book depicts the same conditions that exist in the townships even now, with the exception that the people living there are no longer oppressed.
I do not agree with apartheid or the way people were treated during that time period, but because I was not alive during that era, I am unable to comment on it from a personal perspective. As the author of this book lamentably points out, a significant number of people are still forced to work in positions classified as "servants" in the modern era because no other employment opportunities are open to them, but it is under better conditions than during that time except for the pay. Even though the ANC has been in power for some time now, very little has changed for them in terms of their living situations, and things are still the same as they are described in this book. But it's unfortunate that the government isn't supporting its people and is instead robbing the less fortunate of their money.
If the book did not have a handful of typos, I would have given it the highest possible rating. As a result of this, I have no choice but to award it 4 out of 5 stars. In addition to the fact that I was able to increase my knowledge of the history of my nation, I found that the unexpected turns in the novel kept me interested and kept me guessing about what would happen next. It was almost as if I were present at the actual events that were taking place in the book. I continue to encourage people to read this book because I found it to be really captivating, and I think it's important for people to be aware of this history.
I recommend this book to anyone from South Africa or elsewhere in the world who has an interest in the apartheid era. Due to the numerous graphic acts of gory violence, as well as the occasional depiction of nudity and sex in the comic strip-style visuals, this is not a work that I would suggest to viewers who are sensitive.
Year of the Mantis
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon