Monday, January 23, 2012

Book Review: Makeda by Randall Robinson

While the Encyclopedia Britannica says that Makeda was the name of the Ethiopian Queen of the kingdom of Sheba during the 10th Century B.C., Makeda is also the name of the latest book authored by Randall Robinson.

At a book signing event held at Medgar Evers College for this very exciting autobiographical fiction novel, Robinson said, “I went to Jamaica and addressed a group of students and I asked have any of you ever heard of Toussaint L’Ouverture and not one of them knew who he was,” said Robinson. “But when asked do you know who Snoop Dog was, they said yes.” Perhaps the lack of cultural knowledge that we as a people are denied could have been the reason he wanted to expand upon our histories about our own selves in such a fascinating way.
The book Makeda is 315 pages. It is a genius work from start to finish. Each portion of Makeda is so particular within itself. It is definitely a book of substance.

There are a few themes that I found buried between the lines of each page. Some of them include love, culture, history, conviction, dreams and research.

The story is built around the love affair between the narrative voice and his grandmother, Makeda, which flows as sweet as a fresh, warm breeze. Makeda is an interesting character because she sees a world of beauty in her grandson with eyes that she has never really been able to see anything with because she is blind.

The book is easy to read. Robinson uses every day language to develop both the characters and story. The events that take place within the novel are things that we as a people can relate to. But not only that, there were also things I found in the book that made me interested in doing further research to know more.

Not to drift off the topic so abruptly but, I had a teacher once who got upset at his students for using the author’s name as the narrator or character in the book.  Instead he preferred his students to refer to this character as the narrative voice.  But because Robinson referred to this book as being partly autobiographical, I will refer to the character of the young grandson as Robinson.

Robinson gives evidence in this book that his biggest inspiration is his grandmother, an image of love that has always been there trying to lead him in the right direction. His grandmother often has these dreams that take her into past centuries, so the idea of reincarnation is present in this book. Visions of yesterday are fixed closely in her memory, almost as if she had lived through them. And so, the past constantly collapses into the present as Makeda bounces back and forth from the present to the past and back again.

Perhaps this could have been her methodologies of training a young boy to be a knowledgeable and respectable man, by trying to expand his knowledge beyond the barriers of what the educational system teaches. In truth, we might know a lot but there is always more to learn.

Not only did Robinson’s desire to know more push him into the writer he would soon become, but also gave him the incentive to work harder. Robinson proves to the reader that knowledge is power as he explores the architectural beauty of the history of the world. And so, by going beyond the measure, he set up the stage for a great existence.

His grandmother also exposed him to what true love is. He treated her like a queen and she gave to him all the love and nurturing he deserved. The love they shared enabled Robinson to carry on the concept and share it mutually through husbandry.

Makeda is a book that will stretch the barriers of your mind. Robinson writes with conviction out of his own historical imagination. Not only is it a well-written story, but it carries with it an astronomical amount of history.
One of the reasons for writing a book of this enormity was because Robinson felt that, “we cannot see beyond the opaque, toxic space that centuries of slavery took up.” History truly does matters to shaping the world.

Sometimes we don’t understand how important it really is but even in our times today, our own history is important to research and learn. Take it from the knowledge of rapper Nas who in his hip-hop song, One Love, said, “sometimes I sit back with a Buddha sack/ minds in another world/ thinking how can we exist through the facts/ written in school text books, bibles, etc./ Fuck the shool lectures/ their lies get me vexed.” Perhaps it is our duty to know and understand the who’s, what’s, when’s, where’s, and why’s of how we came to be where we are today. The truth!
Robinson embraced the sky by taking a trip down memory lane. The duty of his day became seeing beyond the fence and as a result, created this great read. Get your copy today: Here's The Link

Links to Consider

Makeda - Enter Here

The Kebra Nagast: The Queen of Sheba and Her Only Son Menyelek - Enter Here

Do Not March Gently Into The College World Freshman (A Villanelle) - Enter Here

We Want English! No Teacher, No Students! - Enter Here

The Right Field (A Poem) - Enter Here

101 Remarkable Black Women from Queen of Sheba to Queen Latifah - Enter Here

Shattered - Enter Here

The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano - Enter Here

January 1st, Haitian Independence Day - Enter Here

Illmatic - Enter Here

Hottest Rap Albums Of All Time - Enter Here

End With a Bang - Enter Here

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