Hamoonga Moya is a young Zambian with a sparkling future. At nineteen he leaves his small copper mining town behind and heads for the bustling streets of Lusaka, where he’s enrolled in college. Surrounded by intellectuals and idealists, he and his classmates intend to help their country move forward from its difficult economic past.
His life is irreversibly changed, and his plans cut short, when he meets Lulu Daka, a pretty but hard-edged business woman with powerful political allies. The night Lulu disappears with some precious contraband, those allies become enemies and quickly pin the blame on the unsuspecting college student. Hamoonga’s dream of finishing college is dashed, as he is thrown into prison—an innocent man caught in a system of corruption, greed, and inhumanity.
When Hamoonga is finally released, he returns home a jaded man struggling to piece together his shattered life. A serendipitous encounter lands him a job in a Chinese-owned copper mine, but the pay is poor and the working conditions woefully unsafe. The acrimonious relationship between the Africans and their Chinese supervisors reaches a tipping point when an African miner is killed during a riot. With the aid of an old friend from Hamoonga’s prison days, the miners gear up their fight for better wages and safer working conditions.
Will Hamoonga and his fellow laborers be successful in their bid to make better lives for themselves? Or will Hamoonga once again see that the life he desires for his fellow Zambians comes at a cost they simply cannot pay?
The story highlights the often uneasy relationship that exists among indigenous African workers, politicians, and a new wave of Chinese migrants on the continent. The proliferation of Chinese investment has certainly brought about much needed development to the African continent, but there are those who see it as a new form of imperialism; a price perhaps too high to pay.