The Grand Daughter Project by Shaheen Chishti – Book Review

The Grand Daughter Project by Shaheen Chishti

By Rogers Wanambwa

Written by British-Indian author Shaheen Chishti, The Grand Daughter Project follows the unintentionally woven together lives of three women, Kamla, Lynette, and Helga, from three different continents who experience so much trauma at hands of the men in whose care the women are entrusted.

Through letters written to their granddaughters, they tell spell-bounding stories that shake up the reader’s faith and notions in many different things.

It delves into the gut-wrenching themes of gender inequality, war on races, especially minorities, female emancipation, immigration, poor parenting, and many more.

Shaheen tactfully brings the reader to the Holocaust that saw the baffling and senseless murder of six million European Jews during World War II, the 1958 Notting Hill race, and even the catastrophic Bengal famine of 1943 that took the lives estimated three million people.

Surprisingly captivating and raw, The Granddaughter Project aims at addressing and pointing out the injustices and reckless nature of some men who use their positions to mistreat, abuse, and are downright careless with women.

Yet, it also sheds a ray of hope, showing the improvements reached regardless of the long journey ahead to achieving equality and better treatment of women.

Through Helga, a holocaust survivor who grew up in Anschluss, Austria, the reader is catapulted into the middle of the Holocaust and brought to question, again, why things happened as they did and how similar conditions are brewing today in different parts of the world. It brings one to pose and ponder about what brings hate in people’s hearts.

Kamla, born during the Bengali Famine, tells a story similar to many hunger-stricken parts of the world, even here in Africa. But, again, it begs the question of whether enough is being done to helps these people. In her eyes, it appears as though no one came to the rescue. Sounds familiar, right?

Through her story, alcoholism and domestic violence are addressed, where her father was an alcoholic who tortures her mother for as long as she lives. Yet Kamla survives despite all this, survives and ends up working at a shelter home helping other women.

Through Lynette, born in the Caribbeans, immigration, early child prostitution, drug abuse, and other vices like rape get addressed. Yet, even when she and her mother move to London, life doesn’t become rosy as expected, a realization many immigrants face.

Again, racial discrimination is addressed in the Notting Hill riots, where Lynette is beaten and hospitalized. She would survive, though, to tell her story.

I loved how the book graphically and in detail tells the reader how women were ill-treated. As it is, millions of women get treated the way these three women were. Its subtle and open calls out on the injustices women faced and continue to face is an excellent torch into issues concerning the place of women in society.

The Grand Daughter Project comes when many women face domestic and gender violence due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. These issues need to be solved, and it does a fantastic job of highlighting them. Timely indeed.

Here’s a link for preorders if you are interested. It does help the reviewer if you order from here.😉

Or you can check out their website:

Vusi: Business & Life Lessons From a Black Dragon

Courtesy Photo: Cover Page: Vusi

By Rogers Wanambwa

If you are familiar with Vusi Thembekwayo, then this book will feel like a continuation of his motivation videos. However, it takes you further down his memory lane and gives you a front seat in his life.

Vusi is sincere in explaining why and how he has gotten where he is, from the simple home of his mother to become one of the richest and most influential black men on Earth.

He also explains why many Africans have failed to scale up in business and what others are doing that Africans can emulate to get there. This he goes about with simple to understand examples that anyone can grasp.

When it comes to his position in life and how he is training his children not to lose sight of their background, he talks about how he is making sure that they don’t forget their roots.

“I send my children to stay with my mother because I want them to form relationships with people on the other side of the fence. I want them to grow up culturally and socially ambidextrous.” He says in the book.

The book is a simple guide into the life of a self-made millionaire and what you can learn from his life. A great read.

This review first appeared here.

Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

By Rogers Wanambwa

Following the recent events that have happened in the just concluded NRM primaries, I found that alot of the information people get is always distorted in some form or other. I wondered why this happens in almost everything in life and so I looked into it further and that’s where this book was recommended to me by an acquaintance to really dive into why.

To explain the way information gets distorted and why, Nassim Taleb gives us quite a number of explanations like this one below:

“A journalist is trained in methods to express himself rather than to plumb the depth of things—the selection process favors the most communicative, not necessarily the most knowledgeable. My medical doctor friends claim that many medical journalists do not understand anything about medicine and biology, often making mistakes of a very basic nature. I cannot confirm such statements, being myself a mere amateur (though at times a voracious reader) in medical research, but I have noticed that they almost always misunderstand the probabilities used in medical research announcements. The most common one concerns the interpretation of evidence. They most commonly get mixed up between absence of evidence and evidence of absence. How? Say I test some chemotherapy, for instance Fluorouracil, for upper respiratory tract cancer, and find that it is better than a placebo, but only marginally so; that (in addition to other modalities) it improves survival from 21 per 100 to 24 per 100. Given my sample size, I may not be confident that the additional 3% survival points come from the medicine; it could be merely attributable to randomness. I would write a paper outlining my results and saying that there is no evidence of improved survival (as yet) from such medicine, and that further research would be needed. A medical journalist would pick it up and claim that a one Professor N. N. Taleb found evidence that Fluorouracil *does not help*, which is entirely opposite to my intentions. Some naive doctor in Smalltown, even more uncomfortable with probabilities than the most untrained journalist, would pick it up and build a mental block against the medication, even when some researcher finally finds fresh evidence that such medicine confers a clear survival advantage.”

It is a book for those that want to get to the bottom of things. Those that are not simply satisfied with the usual narrative.

This review first appeared here.

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