Isaac Bacirongo grew up as a Pygmy hunter-gatherer in the Congo. However, when his Papa left the forest to find work, Isaac went to missionary school, where he fell in love with scientific reason and rejected his mission teachings. He courted and wed Josephine, a 'town girl', whom his mother hated. Complaining that her new daughter-in-law would not be able to catch crabs or collect firewood, she engaged a witchdoctor in an attempt to kill her. Isaac and Josephine moved to the city, and he became a prosperous businessman.
Isaac become a community leader involved in the fight for Pygmy rights, but he was imprisoned for his activism by the brutal regime that controls Eastern Congo. He bribed his way out of jail and fled to Kenya with his wife and 10 children in 2000. There he becomes an interpreter on a corruption investigation into the UNHCR. Granted a humanitarian visa, the family resettled as refugees in Sydney, but life started to unravel under the pressure of domestic violence, his children's assimilation and an Australian workplace that tested Isaac's African values.
Although this memoir is Isaac's personal story, unique in its perspective on life as a Pygmy, it is also a universal story about the tragedies and challenges faced by many refugees and migrants, and their indomitable spirit they display in rising above challenges and confronting change to touch and transform the new communities they join.
- Publication Date:
- 02 / 03 / 2015