Youth Fiction: Peter Dunseith’s The Bird of Heaven
Peter Dunseith’s The Bird of Heaven follows the training and growth in power of Mandla, son of Ingwe.
The story culminates with a trip to Swaziland’s Incwala festival, which the author describes in vivid detail. This event expresses the spiritual identity of the Swazi nation and informs the Swazi world view.
Although a fantasy adventure with some magic realism thrown in, the book operates on other levels, dealing with archetypes representing the struggle between innocence and corruption; the transition from boyhood to manhood; the relationship between a boy and his distant father (a leopard in the body of a man); self-empowerment through the gifts of our ancestors (the muti bag); and the transcendent victory of a noble spirit (the lightning bird).
“Nowhere… for young people is there such a book.”
– Tafelberg reader
About the author
Peter Dunseith is a judge of the Industrial Court of Swaziland, where he has lived for the past 30 years. This is his first book.