Maru by Bessie Head

a nutshell: an orphan of the Sān people (also known as “Bushmen”) is raised by a white wealthy woman then left to fend for herself as a well-educated teacher in a Botswana village, where she encounters racial hatred, oppressive love & genuine friendship

a line: “No. She was not good. She was rich. She kept on throwing things away. I used to feel myself catching them, and that is how I learned.”

an image: the scenes with the two goats, the Queen of Sheba and the Windscreen-Wiper, and their sophistication (and “goat language”) is excellent light relief from the complications of human society

a thought: a lot of the book’s wisdom comes from Dikeledi, a progressive royal, who talks of having grown up surrounded by something she called “sham”, which made people believe they were more important than the normal image of humankind

a fact: the author was born in South Africa in 1937 but took up permanent exile in Botswana & gained citizenship in ’79 after 15 years as a refugee

 

want to read Maru? visit here

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