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September 12, 2011 | by  | in Arts Books |
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Outcast: The Plight of Black African Refugees

While attending university, our student dream is to finish our degrees and find a good job that’ll pay the bills and maybe leave a little extra for decent food before the loan payments kick in. In the meantime, we get by on minimum wage-paying side jobs and try to doge the leaks in our draughty side-street flats. We layer on the thermals and soldier on because we know that our situation is temporary, and one that we’ll look back on someday with a rosy nostalgic gaze. At least that’s what this distressed student is telling herself. The point is, we’re lucky. Unfathomably more so than many of the African refugees that seek asylum within our borders. Terrible segues aside, Yilma Tafere Tasew’s latest non-fiction offering, Outcast: The Plight of Black African Refugees, presents a rounded account of refugee issues both here and internationally. The book contains essays from VUW’s own Ramon Das and the infamous Chris LaMonica, as well as a range of experts, academics, refugees, and activists. With articulate yet understandable content, Outcast balances political debate with emotional testimony, covering the practicalities of the resettlement process in New Zealand, the ethics of humanitarian intervention, and the roles that religion, representation, and HIV/AIDS play.

Tasew is an Ethiopian-born teacher, author, poet, and public speaker. After fleeing from unjust imprisonment and political persecution, he spent eight years in a Kenyan refugee camp before coming to New Zealand in 1999. He is also a graduate of VUW and Outcast marks his fifth publication. *

Outcast: The Plight of Black African Refugees
The Red Sea Press $39

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