Other Free Encyclopedias » Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern Fiction » Encyclopedia of Literature: William Hart-Smith Biography to Sir John [Frederick William] Herschel Biography

Bessie Head Biography

(1937–86), Drum, When the Clouds Gather, Maru, A Question of Power

botswana south modern village

South African novelist, born in Pietermaritzburg, and educated at a mission school. She worked as a teacher, and as a journalist for Drum magazine in South Africa, before she moved to Botswana due to political pressures associated with the trial of a friend. The pain of exile and alienation permeates her first three novels, all set in Botswana. They are also infused with the tensions between rural and urban values, and those caused by racism, traditionalism, male chauvinism, and tribal particularism. In When the Clouds Gather (1969) a black South African nationalist and an English agricultural expert encounter opposition from a local chief who is suspicious of the modern methods. Maru (1971) focuses on the new teacher, Margaret Cadmore, who is taken for a ‘Coloured’ by villagers, and treated respectfully until she reveals herself to be a member of a despised tribe. A Question of Power (1973) extends these themes and reaches for new values, opposed to both traditional and dominant modern ones. Serowe: Village of the Rain Wind (1981) and A Bewitched Crossroad (1984) explore the past, depicting aspects of Botswana history culled from the oral tradition. Her collection of stories The Collector of Treasures (1977) contains tales of village life, very much in the spirit of oral story-telling and didactic parable.

Dermont Healy Biography - (1947– ), The Drumlin, Banished Misfortune, Fighting with Shadows; or Sciamachy, The Goats' Song [next]

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or