The third book I started to read is Tram 83 by Fiston Mwanza Mujila was an interesting read. Completely different than the previous books, where the plot is not the most important part of the book, but how the story is being told. This book is about two friends (siblings??) – one is a writer and the other some sort racketeer – who meet up after long years of not seeing each other, and their days revolve around the nightclub Tram 83.
What I find more interesting about this book is how their lives are under the hands of the General. Who is a corrupt sort of government and only cares about the wealth that brings the mines. Basic essentials that we find in our everyday life cannot be found in the book. Things like water and electricity are a luxury to these people. “No running water these last two weeks for patriotic reasons, apologized the dissident General…” (p.115). The use of the word patriotic stands out the most in this sentence. It is used to force the citizens to comply, otherwise they will seem like they hate their country and are traitors to the nation. It also shows what kind of leader they have. Someone, as I mentioned earlier, who only cares about the wealth they will be getting in keeping mines operational, instead of keeping their people in good living conditions.
Then we have the electricity issue. The narrator says that “people used to have power twenty-four-seven before companies started sprouting like mushrooms” (p.73). The narrator then goes on to say that the half brother of the General declared that there will only be four days of electricity, and those four days were cut down to two hours a week. This is so that “businesses can operate at full tilt” (p.73). He reasoned that the plants that processed the minerals needed it more than the citizens. All this leads the citizens to live under these circumstances and develop their own belly politics.
I see belly politics as a “this is what I must do to survive,” who cares if it is legal or safe, as long as I survive. In order to survive many do what is necessary. Most of the girls and women in the story end up prostituting themselves to get that money from the many tourists that visit. The men and boys end up being diggers, students or mercenaries. All of these individuals mix themselves up in our lovely Tram 83, and interact with our protagonists.