July 3rd, 2014. Toronto, Canada/Nairobi, Kenya.
My Crown of Beauty for Ashes is a personal account of the author’s tribulations following early childhood sexual abuse. The abuse first occurs through a twisted and friendly gardener who molests and rapes her, and later escalates to other men.
The abuse is so bad it sends the author on a streak of self-destructive tendencies and behaviour through alcoholism and indiscriminate sexual encounters – including same-sex liaison. A period of renewed rape in Tanzania results in a pregnancy by a side boyfriend from which a child is finally born. Despite a new sense to life, a return to the risky life by the narrator leads to depression and institutionalization.
However, through strong and loving friends, the narrator is able to overcome challenges and personal acceptance.
The central theme is abuse. The book explores how this happens, the consequences, what may be done to avoid its recurrence and how to find healing from trauma and other negative consequences.
The author also expresses some liberal views on matters of education – an indictment of the Kenyan system – mainly from the author’s personal experience. The author extends this liberal viewpoint to matters relating to childhood care, religion and self-awareness.
The book is written from a first person point of view. All that is stated is true about real-life situations that happened to the narrator.
Here is what others say
“This book has a powerful message. Thitu Kariba has succeeded in bringing out the best social portrait of herself: astute, strong-willed, arrogant and fighting for her rights. She projects herself out as a go-getter, schemer, loser and winner. She succeeds in capturing her social atmosphere at the critical times of her life. This book raises questions of morality in the society.” – Job Nyangena Mokaya, Senior Editor, Book Publishing.
“Thitu, your life story stirred me to a self-actualization journey that cannot be described in a short statement like this. Go ye! Heal the world!” – Fatha Lody, Gospel Musician.
“Thitu Kariba is not only a courageous lady but a person so committed to other people’s growth to risk her own life! When we go through what people consider shameful, we tend to shield ourselves from further shame by covering our own shame…but the more we cover, the more the pain. Thitu Kariba not only shares her life with close friends but also with us all. …” – Julia Kagunda