There are border crossings and hyphenations. Dominican, but not. Haitian, but not. Black Latino. Father. Poet. One of the fiercest writers…One of the most tender. Back-and-forth between Spanish and English. Rakim name-dropped alongside Ravitch. Some references cited and explained—Paolo Freire, for example – but the hip hop lyrics aren’t; it’s up to the reader to decode, not to Vilson to translate. That flips the rules of power and culture and literacy…
He embarked on the task intending not just to rely on historical research but to track down living witnesses to the many tragedies and upheavals that Congo has endured. His efforts were well rewarded…he managed to find Congolese veterans with memories of early white missionaries and colonial officials, and tales of religious uprisings and resistance movements. His witnesses from more modern times include musicians, footballers, political activists, warlords and child soldiers. The result is a vivid panorama of one of the most tormented lands in the world.