Takka Takka by Kieran James HaldenbyReviewed by Bridget Lӧtz
Takka Takka is Haldenby’s debut novel. Based on a true story, set in South Africa and Zambia, it follows the life of Kyle Goodall. Kyle is a career criminal always looking for the next big thing to make money while managing to stay one-step ahead of the law until eventually he is set up and imprisoned in Zambian prisons for a crime he didn’t commit.
The story opens when Kyle is already in prison and he starts telling us, the reader, his story of how he came to be there in the stinking hot hell of the infamous Kamwala prison in Zambia. He begins by describing the scene of how the prisoners sit in rows as you would in a rowing boat all squashed together with the stench of sweat, urine and faecal matter hanging over them like a cloud making it difficult to breathe. Each hour on the hour when the bell rings, the prisoners chant, “Takka Takka” which loosely translated means, “I’m okay, I’m still alive.”