Tuesday, November 6, 2012

"Ruby's World" by Karen Baldwin {Book Review}


Karen Baldwin's masterful memoir reads like a suspense thriller as this resolute American woman of "a certain age" journeys alone to South Africa to teach Zulu children. There she encounters a stunning resistance to change from those who invited her.

Baldwin's writing is candid, taut and relentless, as waves of cultural tension build to an unforeseen crisis that tests her courage and strength. -Phaedra Greenwood, Award Winning Journalist

Karen Baldwin, through raw, honest, and vibrant writing, shares her journey to teach children in South Africa. Her good intentions are met by strong traditions and a real Africa-not an illusion or romanticized world-where nothing is wasted and there is little personal space. Baldwin's journey reveals the similarities in Zulu and American families' joys, pain, deception and love. -Dr. Andrea M. Heckman, PhD, Cultural Anthropologist, University of New Mexico

An extraordinary story, beautifully told. Baldwin's account of her adventure in Africa is honest, moving, frequently funny, sometimes startling, and always compelling. This is a journey of faith, and it carries the reader along every twist and turn in that journey with remarkable clarity and grace. -Sean Murphy, Author, The Time of New Weather

About the Author, Karen Baldwin:

Ruby’s World: My Journey with the Zulu

Breast cancer and heart attack survivor Karen Baldwin searched for a way to give back targeting women and children. What began as a humanitarian quest ended suddenly with a hair-raising escape for her life. What started as a dream and a spiritual calling for Baldwin, quickly turned into a nightmare in the Zulu region of South Africa as the obscure traditions of the Zulu tribal chiefs and witch doctors threatened her survival and prompted her expulsion from the dark continent of Africa.

Now Baldwin’s good intentions continue to move her forward. She has written a book about her journey with the Zulu and altered the course of her life to continue to find ways to help the Zulu women and children working with the non-profit Rural Women’s Movement of South Africa.

Readers of Ruby’s World – My Journey with the Zulu demanded answers!

In Unlocking the Dream, Karen Baldwin shares her intimate dream of a one-breasted heroine that drives her through an intense journey of healing and self-determination. Dreams nurture and guide our souls’ contracts. Join Karen Baldwin’s compelling adventure and decide for yourself: Has she unlocked the key elements of her dreams, or is she still on the journey?

News Release:

New Mexico Author Karen Baldwin Named Ambassador
For Rural Women’s Movement of South Africa
Karen Baldwin, author of Ruby’s World – My Journey with the Zulu, believes in global volunteerism.
Now she helps bring awareness of non-profit efforts toward equality for African women.

A prominent New Mexico author becomes the first Ambassador for the Rural Women’s Movement of South Africa. Founder and Executive Director for the Rural Women’s Movement of South Africa, Sizani Ngubane, chose author Karen Baldwin as the first Ambassador to the U.S. representing the non-profit because of Baldwin’s passion to help the women and children. Ngubane is known as an indefatigable campaigner for women’s and children’s human rights in South Africa. She sits on the UN Commission on the Status of Women and has addressed the UN regarding the UN Millennium Development Goals. Joining Ngubane in that fight, Baldwin, whose book is a memoir of her journey to rural South Africa teaching children English, wants to make a difference. Baldwin also will attend the UN Commission on the Status of Women hearing in the Spring 2013 and together with Ngubane will present a workshop on RMW’s work.

Baldwin knows firsthand the struggles women face in South Africa. She witnessed many of the issues Ngubane battles on a daily basis. There is the imbalance of power for women. If a woman is not married, she holds no rights to property, a job, or freedom.

“I was searching for purpose after surviving a heart attack and breast cancer,” says 57-year-old Karen Baldwin. “I was invited to be the first white teacher in a rural Zulu elementary school. Na├»ve, I set off from San Francisco alone for South Africa,” Baldwin explains. “At first I was welcomed in my efforts, but then threatened with my life because, in part, I stood against the cruelty that Ngubane is working to end. Since returning home from South Africa, I have been searching for a non-profit to give my support.”

About RWM

The Rural Women’s Movement of KwaZulu-Natal was chosen as a finalist in the 2010 Drivers of Change awards by the Southern Africa Trust. The criteria in the annual competition is that entrants must demonstrate their commitment to sustained development within communities to ensure a better future for all South Africans.

Nearly 70 years ago, an elderly South African man dictated his will to his youngest child, informing her that she would equally share in the division of his property. That little girl grew up to become the mother of Sizani Ngubane of the Rural Women’s Movement in KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa. Today, Ms. Ngubane works to educate women with HIV/AIDS of their inheritance rights in a country where women are being disenfranchised because of the illness.

RWM serves over 50,000 women and 2,000 orphans in rural South Africa. They are part of a 21 organization alliance that works toward preserving constitutional rights for rural citizens.

Their primary focus is to advocate for women's independent land housing, inheritance, and property rights. They also provide training and strategic assistance for the HIV/AIDS crisis.

The author and global volunteer Karen Baldwin recently was appointed the Ambassador for the Rural Women’s Movement of South Africa working to obtain basic human rights for the women and children of South Africa. She’ll be speaking to the United Nations Commission hearings on the Status of Women with Sizani Ngubane, the executive director and founder of RWM early next year. Karen was recently interviewed by NBC affiliate, KOB in Albuquerque, NM. Airing September 18 - Link: http://www.kob.com/article/stories/S2767979.shtml?cat=11121

Before NM, Karen was in San Francisco on a book tour and was on the CBS Affiliate Bay Sunday: http://youtu.be/nQI3bflfaNY

Karen is a breast cancer and heart attack survivor (October Breast Cancer Awareness Month). These are the two deadliest killers of women. Karen took her surviving as a sign to help women and children prompting her trip to Africa. Her story is inspirational. We have video of her time in Africa with the children and traditions of the Zulu that we can include as links on the blog post.

Author’s Encounter with Secretive Zulu Traditions – 

When Dreams Turn into Nightmares

What started as a dream and a spiritual calling for Karen Baldwin, quickly turned into a nightmare in the Zulu region of South Africa as the obscure traditions of the Zulu tribal chiefs and witch doctors threatened her survival and prompted her expulsion from the dark continent of Africa. Ruby’s World, My Journey with the Zulu tells that story. Baldwin says, “I didn’t choose Africa. Africa chose me,” says Baldwin, author of Ruby’s World, My Journey with the Zulu. “It was an experience that changed my life.”

Purchase "Ruby's World on:


Karen writes about her trip experience(s) to South Africa in "Ruby's World" and her descriptions of places, people and well, everything was so descriptive that I felt I was there with her. Karen's strong writing draws you in right from the beginning and doesn't let you go until the end. Full of emotions and mind opening events I highly recommend this book to everyone!

I give "Ruby's World" a 5 star rating.

Disclosure: I received the above product(s) from the company in exchange for an honest review. I received no compensation for this publication. My opinions are my own and may differ from those of your own. This review is brought to you by Charisma Media. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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