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This Thing Called The Future

The Horn Book Magazine

"Khosi Zulu is fourteen, living in a township in South Africa. Every day, it seems, another of her neighbors dies of 'the disease of these days,' AIDS. When a witch curses Khosi and a shiftless man begins stalking her, Khosi feels torn between her mother’s scientific rationalism and her grandmother’s belief in the power of the ancestors to protect her. Then Khosi’s mother comes down with a wasting disease. Is it AIDS? Tuberculosis? The witch’s curse? Khosi feels that only a sangoma, a traditional healer, can help her. With extensive research into life in South Africa, author Powers delivers a first-person narrative from a South African girl that has many hallmarks of authenticity..... But as Khosi’s mother gets sicker and Khosi’s belief in the witch’s curse strengthens, fantastical elements enter the otherwise realistic story, quickening both narrative pace and interest. South African dialect and turns of phrase enrich the language throughout. Despite pervasive HIV and the specter of rape, as well as the restrictions on girls’ freedom that are her society’s only response, Khosi manages to find her power, refuse to be a victim, and carve out a future for herself that embraces both the modern and the traditional."
- Anita L. Burkam, 

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