May I have this Dance?

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May I have this Dance?

May I have this Dance?

Educators will find this book to be an excellent teaching tool to chronicle the journey of South Africa to freedom. History is best taught as a lesson regarding the impact of events upon the people. I am certain that Connie Ngcaba’s lessons are many and we must teach these lessons to every generation to come.

Synopsis: The author, Connie Manse Ngcaba, commenced (at first) to write a chronicle of her life for Africa, humanity, and as a gift for her grandchildren. The author advanced as a daughter, a sibling, a wife, a mother, a nurse, grandmother, and humanitarian. And throughout the discourse of the book, Ngcaba asserts her identity as an African woman and as an advocate of social justice for Africa. Readers journey with the writer as she navigates her way from maidenhood to womanhood. She meets and falls in love with a handsome, dancing instructor named Sol. Connie was a serious nursing student when they met. However, Sol extended his hand to her and proposed to act as her escort through life. Engulfed in the passion of love, the author becomes pregnant before her marriage to Sol. Such a dilemma could have easily destroyed the author’s future. But, Sol’s love proves to be steadfast. He acknowledged the affront to her family. Within the customs of many African peoples, one must obtain prior approval and a bride price must be paid before marriage (and the consummation of any union between families). Sol accepted the debt and agreed to council with the family of Connie. Penance for his ‘crime’ was demonstrated in such an earnest fashion that Sol was embraced by his new family.

After this point, the life of Connie Ngcaba took form. She advanced as a mother of several children. She completed her dream of becoming a nurse. There was trepidation in her journey, but she persevered. She struggled with the Apartheid regime of South Africa and won small battles that brought about great defeats for those who opposed her quest for dignity. She aided Blacks receiving substandard medical care. Families were afforded respect through her efforts to make provisions for those Black families visiting the ill. The author sought to make the facilities which host Black families to be more hospitable and comfortable. Homeless children and their plight became a project for the author in her later years. In earnest, Connie’s crusades were not always successful. Family members had to flee their homeland because of anti-Apartheid campaigning. Connie was incarcerated for a time too. Yet, this book speaks to the will of people and the struggles for freedom, dignity, and the ability of families to remain intact. Connie Ngcaba played no small role in the journey of her family, countrymen, and continent. Readers find that she symbolizes all.

Critique: I was absolutely mesmerized by this book. May I have this Dance? Yes, I decided to partake in the lessons and the whirlwind dance through the life of Connie Ngcaba. I assumed, wrongly, that this book for children. I released myself from this notion. And I took the hand of the author and danced from Apartheid to freedom. I paused during intervals of strife and disappointment experienced by the author. The dance resumed when others joined in. Children, colleagues, and relatives of Ngcaba helped when the steps became too cumbersome. I was uplifted at the end of the book….and thankfully…. not the end of Ngcaba’s life.

Educators will find this book to be an excellent teaching tool to chronicle the journey of South Africa to freedom. History is best taught as a lesson regarding the impact of events upon the people. I am certain that Connie Ngcaba’s lessons are many and we must teach these lessons to every generation to come.