Bessie Head is one of Africa’s best-known women writers. She was born in South Africa in 1937. as a young child she had a very hard life, living with foster parents before attending mission school at the age of 13 and subsequently training as a teacher. She became a teacher in Botswana. She later turned from the teaching to journalism.
Bessie Head’s three outstanding novels are all set in Botswana. She also wrote memorable short stories and various other literary works. Bessie Head died in 1986 at the early age of 49.
It is lonely at the lands where the people go to plough.
They could have killed something to make the rain fall.
Most chilling lines:
The was, he said, a certain rain god who accepted only the sacrifice of the bodies of children. Then the rain would fall, then the crops would grow, he said.
After it was all over and the bodies of the two little girls had been spread across the land, the rain did not fall.
Layman’s plot: African village is facing its worst drought ever. On the brink of insanity from the impending starvation, Old Man recalls an ancient ritual to make rain. Family sacrifices their only two girls, but rain does not come. Soon, the villagers become suspicious of the disappearance of the girls.
Verdict: A sad story told in an almost impersonal manner, which can be somewhat reminiscent of the African style of prose. Think Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.