Pregnant with cultural idioms, satire and other literary devices and motifs, Timebomb takes one on a journey of reflection, introspection and self-invention as it mirrors and unearths a cancerous culture of corruption, rot, cronyism, chauvinism, chaos and oppression and the consequent actions of those who are the hapless victims.
In essence, the story stirs at an explosive pace the moment the security officers pounce upon a young writer at his place of work and drag him into an over-crowded holding cell – where there are lice, lies and truths; reality of prison-life; but more importantly things seem to come to a head when there are serious and eye-brow raising discussions on taking the bull by its horns. The action takes place in a fictitious country of Msindazwe.
It riled me. I felt terribly violated and vulnerable. It was on one of those occasions when l strongly felt that our `vibrant freedom ` was lost on me. I was groping for its fruits, but felt something stiff and sharp like needles and thorns in my heart. It was as if I were nursing a nagging lesion in my swollen heart, in my wishing and wondering mind. Yes, my head seemed to have suffered critical injuries.
There was a trace of anguish l felt. I was under those circumstances, under the impression that the startling dream would jolt me into a plausible reality.
I conjured up images of a woman heavy with child going through the ogre of having her unarmed arms hacked off, her piteous eyes gouged, her delicate stomach callously ripped apart because she allegedly carried a ‘dissident’. Identity must be dignity no soul should seek to lose. Besides, how could that woman humanly escape who she was? My hands were not bloody. I did not need to wash them. How do people wash bloody hands, anyway? Where lie such cleansing rivers, where lies such hellish relief? Where are the detergents? But l had seen abominations and atrocities fall off in the world in general, and fall off heavily and fiercely in my dear land. This was yet another pointer of a tragic timebomb lurking, ticking away. It was an escalating man-made quagmire that haunted and howled at the terrain, begging and baying for nothing else but prompt and guileless attention, answers and healing. There was prejudice, but it sought justice. There was hypocrisy, but it sought openness. There was supremacy but it called for modesty. And there was lunacy, it grouped for sanity. Daily and tirelessly, a stalking and stifling monster was looming large with a venom that threatened to engulf the breadth and width of the land. Shattered bridges. Downplayed dialogue. It set poles apart. People. Ideas. How did one culprit depart and leave behind such a combustible legacy? The dead too, were in their mass superficial graves wondering, waiting and wailing.
“The storm will be over. Determine your destiny. Just steady yourself, persevere, push forward, focus on what you want, and sooner or later you will reach your destination and claim what is yours”, says the narrator.
The protagonist/ narrator describes the authorities` actions and decisions for arresting him as nothing else “but a copy and paste story clumsily concocted in the lofty corridors of evilness by the forces of oppression and suppression”. What sins has he committed? What will happen? Will he continue to whine, or will he shine?
Of Timebomb, Francis Platt, a South African English teacher and booklover says,” With the central character finding himself in dire straits, a can of worms is opened for us all to share. In an eye-opening account, Sibanda tells his story with a great sense of realism not often found in fictional tales. From the justice system to village life; for everything you wanted to know about the nitty-gritty of life in Zimbabwe; from the tortoise to the hare (and back). Timebombwill create an interest in Africa that will continue long after the book is finished.
Ndaba has witnessed innocent people fall into the hands of the system`s vigilantes and zealots. However, he has never lost the connection to the common people of his country who have been bearing the brunt of socio-economic and political turbulences movingly encapsulated in his brand new novel called Timebomb”.