Am appending a brief note on my thoughts on this
My thoughts on Cyprian Fernandes’s “Yesterday in Paradise”
As one who was born and lived the life in Kenya, I would class
Cyprian Fernandes’s memoir, “Yesterday in Paradise” as a
“just-can’t-put-it –down” book.
Who, I wonder, after a seemingly disturbed childhood would
rise to the dizzy heights in the journalistic world as our author has?
But Cyprian had a loving and caring mother who, despite odds stacked
heavily against her, literally worked her socks off and sacrificed all
ensure her children were safe and well looked after. No sacrifice was too
much for her and it is heartening to see the author pay a much deserved
tribute to this incredible woman.
That Cyprian lived by his wits can be seen from many instances in the
For example, during his schooling in Eastleigh, he refuses to ‘bow down’ to
– in this case,the school’s Principal, Fr. Hannon- who wrongly accuses him
Kudos to Cyprian for standing his ground and being freed by the truth.
A bank clerk’s or office job was not for this ‘never-give-up’ individual
who was made of sterner stuff! As you plough through the pages of
‘Yesterday in Paradise’ you will see that Cyprian’s destiny lay elsewhere.
His later foray into the coveted world of journalism, and his meteoric
within the organisation saw him being assigned some of the most enviable and
dangerous tasks – a mission he always accomplished with singular
Here was a man not given to suffering fools gladly as shown during his
with quite an inexperienced and arrogant Minister of Information who took
to an editorial piece Cyprian had written. Undeterred by the Minister’s
of deportation, the brave author stuck to his story, refusing to apologise
was in fact, the plain truth.
Through his friendship with some of the senior Ministers in the Kenyatta
Government, Cyprian may well have been privy to some of the inner workings
of the government.
In this book, he has had the guts to ‘spill the beans’ so to speak, and
strongly about the rampant corruption in the corridors of power of the
Government. Many, including Kenyatta himself, come in for severe criticism
reneging on their previous promises to the “*wanainchi” (*the landless
and instead, allocating large acreages of formerly ‘White Highlands’
to themselves and their families.
The author does not forget the ‘African Goan’ –to whom he devotes
a whole chapter, paying glowing tribute to the humble civil servants
who kept the government machinery functioning.
There is so much in this very readable book that the author touches on
– from early Goan migration to even the ‘ugly ‘and distasteful caste system
which hopefully is being consigned to history.
It is a book which should be required reading for every Goan –
So why are you waiting ? Go on and buy a copy NOW!
(Author of ‘Bwana Karani’ & 'From Mtoto to Mzee')