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Rejoice in commonality and difference - Michèle Drouart

This memoir, set in Africa and full of colour and diversity, never strays far from its central idea of shared humanity. As Tineke passes through many conflicts and learns to make her way through the world, we grow to recognise with her that a life well-lived is one that rejoices in commonality and difference together. In giving full weight and value to every one of its main characters, whatever their culture, her story celebrates the individual worth of those who make up humanity in all its glory, with all its flaws.

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Review by William Yeoman for The West Australian

Van der Eecken writes with generosity, frankness and insight; consequently her own character and the others she depicts, such as the wonderful culinary genius Mrs Zulu, are revealed in all their flawed beauty against a shifting backdrop of social, political and cultural perceptions and realities. Part-memoir, part-travelogue, part-coming-of-age story, Cafe d'Afrique is a book about making friends, not just with people but with a country.

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Experience that rapture of understanding tinged with poignancy of how it was achieved - Review by Shane McCauley

When much of the news coming out of Africa in recent years is distressing or even horrific (think Darfur), Tineke Van der Eecken's revised edition of Cafe D’Afrique is a welcome corrective indeed. Although by no means completely anodyne - quite the opposite, as the author does not shy away from the sadder and more unfortunate aspects of human experience - the overwhelming tone of this memoir is joyful, celebratory, a gratitude and homage paid to a resilient, long-suffering and little known people - at least to us here in comfortable Australia.

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