Benedict is an unusually sensitive and caring ten-year-old whose family has recently moved to Swaziland. When he’s not dreaming up new ways for his mother to build a clientele for her cake-baking business, he’s admiring birds and insects and worrying about the lives of the people around him.
Country Focus: Swaziland (eSwatini in siSwati)
When Hoopoes Go to Heaven
By Gaile Parkin
Published by Corvus, 2012.
About the author: Originally from Zambia, Parkin has lived and worked in many African countries, Swaziland among them. When Hoopoes Go to Heaven follows her first novel Baking Cakes in Kigali. Both books feature the character Angel Tungaraza, cake baker extraordinaire.
It was malaria. Probably not a new malaria: they said you only got it it down in the eastern part of Swaziland, though Benedict was sure he had seen the black-and-white spotted mosquitoes that gave it to you in their house on the hill. This was probably old malaria visiting him again, which could happen on account of it sometimes never fully leaving your blood.
Lying in his bed, with Mama and Titi taking turns to drape a fresh damp cloth over his hot forehead and trying one after the other to tempt him with food that he didn’t want to eat, he thought feverishly about what had happened.
First Nomsa. A girl.
Then Josephine. A girl.
Now malaria. Which you could only get from a female mosquito.
It was days and days before he was well enough to get out of bed.