Book Review: Out of the Black Shadows


'Out of the Black Shadows' is not your typical autobiography. This one is so compelling it cannot be put down. Stephen Lungu writes his story with such heartrending honesty and integrity that it will certainly move you and remind you of the sovereign providence of God.

Stephen was the oldest son of a Zimbabwean teenage mother forced to marry a much older man. When he was only seven, his mother deserted him and his two siblings, leaving them at a shopping center in Harare, Zimbabwe.

An unwilling aunt was forced to take them in, treating Stephen very harshly.

At the age of eleven, like so many impoverished African boys, he ran away and began life on the streets where he was eventually recruited into a violent gang known as the ‘Black Shadows.’


They were little more than thugs, living under bridges, senselessly assaulting people and stealing what they needed to survive. They were recruited by revolutionaries who taught them that their poverty was the fault of the white man and the white man’s religion. They were encouraged to take whatever they wanted from their oppressors.

One day Stephen and his gang set out to firebomb an evangelistic tent meeting and then to gun down anyone who tried to escape. He entered that tent with every intention of wreaking havoc—but first, to heighten his enjoyment of the moment, he decided to listen to just a few moments of the sermon being preached that evening. And his life was forever transformed.

Stephen does not write to shock, but writes with a gentle humour, humility and passion. He does not lay blame. His testimony is powerful. His love for the Gospel, inspiring and his joy in sharing it, contagious.

Your faith will be encouraged as you witness how God worked in undeniable and unexpected ways in Stephen’s life. Your passion for prayer will be restored and you will be left praising God for the work He has done in Stephen’s life and yours.

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