Author Ondjaki was born in Luanda, Angola in 1977. The author of five novels, three short story collections, poems and stories for children, he was named in 2012, by “The Guardian”, as one of its “Top Five African Writers” and the following year he was awarded the Jose Sarmago Prize for his novel “Os Transparentes”.
It was a huge page with a half-crumpled drawing of the government’ plan for the whole Mausoleum area, with tiny pictures that were dotted with symbols where they were going to put new parks, swing sets, a new waterfront drive close to the sea, lots of space with lawns where dogs could walk and poop all over, slides, water fountains, mature trees that I don’t know how they were going to grow so fast, and a tone of people lining up to enter the Mausoleum and see the body of the Comrade President, embalmed with Soviet techniques.
When you grow up, you have to remember all of these tales. Inside you. You promise?
The sea breeze carried a heap of smells that you had to keep your eyes closed to understand, as though it were a carnival of colours: mangoes still green and pretty hanging from the trees, mangoes already gnawed by bats, the green smell of the cherimoya fruit, the dust brushed of the guavas that were about to fall, the smell of Surinam cherries blended with that of the loquat tree, the smells of chicken coups and pigpens, the cries of the parrots and the dogs, two or three bursts from an AK-47, a radio that someone had left on during a news broadcast in an African language, the footfalls of people who were running to get home, or at least to get to a place where they wouldn’t get wet, and even if it were already late, the sounds of the bakery that was in the street behind, where they started work so early and worked all night to ensure that the bread arrived hot at the houses of people who spent the whole night sleeping. Which meant that, in the end, the smell of the rain was a difficult thing to describe to someone who wasn’t familiar with the bathroom of Granma Agnette’s house.