Waila Reads: “To Kill A Mockingbird”

Prejudice, particularly of the racial variety, isn’t something I think about often. I am proud of who I am, comfortable in my own skin and not the least bit perturbed by people who have a problem with me. It is their problem, they can deal with it.  That said, racial prejudice has never blatantly stared me in the face so I cannot say I know what it feels like to be discriminated against on the basis of my skin colour. I suspect I will find myself singing from a  different hymn sheet should it ever happen.

Interestingly, no individuals or people are spared the contempt of others. Some white people hate all black people. Some black people hate all white people. Some black people hate other black people. Some black people hate Indian people. The French hate the Brits. Yoruba people hate Hausa people. Hausa people hate Igbo people. The Tutsi’s hate the Hutu’s, the Hutu’s hate the Tutsi’s. Muslims hate Christians, Christians hate Jews. The chain of hate is endless and it permeates every barrier the human mind can erect.  Thinking about it gives me a headache.

Ever so often I read an article or story that makes me seriously ponder the evil that is prejudice. The depths some people sink to for prejudice sake beggars belief. Over the Christmas holiday the Nigerian media was full of stories about Christians in Jos being burnt to ashes by their Muslim neighbours. Some Christians retaliated by killing their Muslim neighbours using equally barbaric methods. It is a sad state of affairs.

On that note, my book recommendation for this week is “To Kill A Mockingbird” written by the legendary Harper Lee. As I’m sure you’ve guessed, the novel tackles the issue of racial prejudice. First published in 1960 it’s an oldie but still very relevant. As always, read and tell me what you think.


Waila Caan


  1. Until I watched Colour purple before I was 10, didn’t give much thought to racial discrimination and soon as I watched Jaws after Colour Purple didn’t think about it again…then I read this last year and about how her life was transformed after writing it (thank you Stylist magazine) Harper Lee never wrote again and was effectively an outcast, and I think became a recluse because the story was not so loosely written about events that happened in her own home town. So not only was the offence heinous those who opposed it were penalised.
    The saddest part was the open apathy,one of my friends had to read it as part of her literature curriculum and cried. Eyeopening, not heartwarming but a good book. Classic isn’t a cliche!


  2. Yeah, there’s a BBC documentary that was aired last year in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the novel. She did become reclusive and doesn’t give interviews.

    Every time I read or hear about prejudice, I sit up and take notice but because it’s not something I tend to experience (at least not that I’m aware of) I quite quickly forget. I guess these days subtle is the way of the prejudiced.

    Classic is most certainly not a cliche!


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