Land without Thunder: a short short reflection

I don’t know if the Heinneman African Writer Series (AWS) was one of those Chess record label deals where the artists didn’t get paid according to the value of their work to the music appreciating audience but rather according to the skinflint economics of record label owners. I haven’t researched it so I can’t say. I can say I sincerely hope not because I am thankful for it connecting me to so many African writers they’ve become part of my interior landscape.

For instance, earlier today, I was mopping my floor and for no reason I can think of one of the stories in Grace Ogot’s Land without thunder crossed my mind. In a beautiful story called the old white witch, a group of african nurses go on strike because they’ve been ordered to carry the feces of patients and that is against their cultural practices. As their spokeswoman, Adhiambo (but called Monica by the white missionaries who run the hospital) says:

Long before you came, we agreed to nurse in the hospital on the understanding that we were not to carry any bedpans. We want to be married and become mothers like any other woman in the land. We are surprised that senior members of the staff have sneaked behind us to support you when they know perfectly well that no sane man will agree to marry a woman who carries a bedpan. A special class of people do this job in our society. Your terms are therefore unacceptable, Matron.  You can keep your hospital and the sick. And if being a Christian means carrying faeces and urine, you can keep Christianity too – we are returning to our homes.

I don’t know why this occurred to me in the midst of cleaning but it is a fine, fine story. Land of Thunder is full of such stories. Click the book cover to visit Ogot’s Amazon page.


A more thorough review of Land without Thunder

~ by Tichaona Chinyelu on April 19, 2011.

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