A fictionalised memoir of Sarah Mkhonza’s time at Manzini Nazarene High School, a boarding school in Eswatini (formerly called Swaziland), in the 1970s. life there is strict but she and her friends grow up learning about life and Christianity and they love school.
It’s kind of unfortunate but Weeding the Flowerbeds is one of those books that I read but as soon as I’d finished it, I couldn’t really tell you anything that had happened. It’s also a book, that while short at less than 200 pages, felt longer at times and was a bit of a slog to get through. It’s another book I persevered with due to it being for my Read the World Project and the only book I found for this country.
Weeding the Flowerbeds is simply written which suits the mundane lives that the three school girls have as they study. There are things like sports days, new teachers, and the sudden interest in boys – all things that tend to happen in kids’ lives – but none of them are huge, earth-shattering moments. They’re just things they experience. I suppose Weeding the Flowerbeds is a good way to show how school life doesn’t really change no matter the year or where in the world the school is. There are the routines and classes everyone must go through in order to become a “grown up”.
The inclusion of photographs from, presumably, Sarah Mkhonza’s school days was a nice touch but overall Weeding the Flowerbeds wasn’t memorable. I suppose it’s a nice slice of life kind of story, and those who like books set at boarding schools may get more from it than I did. 2/5.