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Showing posts from November, 2011

From a Crooked Rib by Nuruddin Farah

I stumbled across Nuruddin Farah’s novels when searching for something written by a Somali author. Perhaps due to the conflict that has raged for years in Somalia, it is very difficult to find much from Somali writers published in English.
From a Crooked Rib was published in 1970 and tells the story of Ebla, a young, orphaned, illiterate nomadic girl, who runs away from her encampment. She takes the decision to leave upon learning of her Grandfather’s intention to marry her off to an older man within their Jes (a group of families living in an encampment together).
She firstly escapes to a town, Belet Amin, where she finds her cousin and his pregnant wife. She also finds a guide and confidante in a character known only as the widow. Things seem settled until, yet again, Ebla finds her freedom compromised by a male character – this time her cousin, whose wife and child Ebla has been nursing.
In her haste she leaves Belet Amin with the widow’s nephew, bound for Mogadishu – still called

The Bakiga Window: Exploring the Backstreets

The backstreets of any town are always a treasure trove of hidden gems. They obscure from the casual traveller or commuter a great deal of real life - a life missed from the main road. Kabale is no exception to this rule.
It is Wednesday 20th April and the midday sun is engaged in a battle with dark rainclouds for ownership of the Kigezi skies. This morning I have been at the Taufiq Islamic School and now I am exploring some of Kabale’s backstreets alone, something I have never had chance to do before.
Upon leaving the main road, I cross an open square, past the Edirisa, and head down Nyerere Avenue. Along this street I don’t stir much curiosity in the local people and pass the Kabale Milk Centre unnoticed. Here young boys on bicycles precariously balance heavily laden milk churns on their luggage racks before riding off into the distance.
I reach Nyerere Drive Road, turn right and then right again shortly after passing by the modestly named Amazing Pub.
I find myself in a small stre…