Walking the Bowl: A True Story of Murder and Survival Among the Street Children of Lusaka

Chris Lockhart and Daniel Mulilo Chama. Hanover Square, $27.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-33542-574-4
Anthropologist Lockhart and social worker Chama frame this transcendent study of the street children of Lusaka, Zambia, around an unlikely murder investigation. Beginning in 2014, the authors and a team of six collaborators immersed themselves in Lusaka’s “street culture” in order to “call attention to the growing problem of street children around the world.” They document the discovery in Chunga Dump of a boy’s mutilated body by Lusabilo, the “quasi leader” of a scavenger crew, who worried that the murder would be pinned on him. The story of Lusabilo’s search for the real killers intersects with profiles of other street children, including Timo, an ambitious would-be drug runner; Moonga, an eight-year-old from the countryside who was abandoned in Lusaka’s bus station; Kapula, the illegitimate teen daughter of a powerful political figure; and “the Lozi kid,” who became Lusabilo’s sidekick (“like the Batman and that other guy, the one whose name he could never remember”), despite a language barrier. As the children’s backstories and links to the murdered boy emerge, Lockhart and Chama expose the “overwhelming structures and forms of violence” impacting their daily lives, as well as the “small acts of kindness” that gave them hope. Fans of Behind the Beautiful Forevers and Strength in What Remains will flock to this riveting and deeply reported portrait of life on the margins. (Jan.)
Reviewed on : 10/19/2021
Release date: 02/15/2022
Genre: Nonfiction
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