The Kind Gang
Author: Bob Kisiki
A review by Nantume Miriam Kasibante
No child should have to suffer this way. No child should have to suffer the loss of those he loves. But, no one has control over how their life will turn out. A force that we can barely influence has the final say in that!
Set in Uganda, ‘The Kind Gang’ is a book about a boy, Awazi, on whose world the rain pours and never seems to stop. His father is killed, his mother kidnapped and the girl he loves moves to another country. Awazi loses out on the education he once looked to for hope and is forced to live with strangers. He is sold off to a woman like a slave and later has to work as a taxi conductor.
An innocent boy who had never judged anyone and saw the world as perfect is forced, at an early stage, to see that the world is not as it seems. He loses all hope and thinks that the odds are ever against him, since nothing good in his life ever thrives.
No one in this evil world leaves it unscarred.
It is a place where inequality is condoned: the rich are better than the poor. The rich have a voice and the poor are not allowed to speak. A world where the poor are made and left to suffer.
Awazi’s life leads the reader to question his own. How many times have we seen poor people and simply pass them off as useless? We never even stop to question what their story is! No one wants to be poor. No one wants to suffer. Yet we laugh and scorn at them. We turn our heads from their begging eyes. Our hearts are hardened to their tears. We are no longer human.
This story is a story of transformation too. Facing the world leaves Awazi bitter and angry. He too does not think twice about being mean to others after what has happened to him. However, two women who owe him nothing speak kindly to him, they pay attention to him even when others see him as nothing but rags.
Their kindness transforms him. He leaves behind his life of anger and bitterness and follows the women’s example of kindness and love. He too starts to treat others with kindness and respect. Indeed, this goodness is rewarded when the women take him in after he is thrown out of the house where he lives.
He begins to learn that the world is not completely evil, it is not too far gone, all hope is not lost and humanity still has a grain of kindness left.
The sun shines again on his life after his transformation. He finds his mother even when he had presumed her dead because of hope. Hope that he might get to live the life he dreamt of once. His light shines so brightly that even his mother wishes to share in it. She too transforms and gives her life to Jesus, the symbol of love and hope.
In the end good and love triumph over all. Suddenly, the hope is not only for Awazi (now Amos) but for every reader.