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Dogs in the Sun

G. D. Nyamndi

Publication Year: 2009

This compelling narrative pits the legacies of two men in the village of Nwemba. Winjala the Crude, yardman to the English surveyor Pete Harrington, kills the latter's favourite animal, the big monkey called Stirrup, and runs to his village. Sama Gakoh, washerman to Harrington, also returns home when his services are terminated for age reasons. Both hold clashing views of the white man. They die shortly after their return but their sons pick up and sustain their conflicting philosophies. The drama culminates in the fishing contest where the village chief, Ndelu, takes an unprecedented decision charged with meaning and wisdom. The action is given piquancy by a strong undercurrent of human passion that flies in the face, so to speak, of artifices that divide and alienate. We are dealing here with a profound allegory that brings the classical stereotypes into pointed - and hopefully final - disrepute.

Published by: African Books Collective

Title Page

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Copyright Page

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Chapter One

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pp. 1-10

My name is Banda. Banda son of Gakoh, of Nwemba.
Nwembwana founded Nwemba many many moons ago. It is said that back in the ancestral lands of Bengeta, somewhere in the deep past, he discovered himself in a...

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Chapter Two

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pp. 11-30

All these things I’m saying I’m saying in the white man’s talk but in the way we talk in our own talk. When I talk our own talk in the white man’s talk like this anyone who knows our talk will say this is not the...

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Chapter Three

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pp. 31-38

The white man was called Harrington. Pete Harrington. And his wife’s name was Lucy. He used to go out everyday carrying strange things he called field instruments. I don’t know me how to describe...

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Chapter Four

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pp. 39-48

Winjala the Crude returned to Nwemba and found his house on the ground with ants living in the bamboos.
The day he arrived he sat in the ruins and looked at the other houses as they stood proudly in the sun. Anger and sadness filled him, and he bowed his head and mumbled: “I...

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Chapter Five

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pp. 49-56

Chief Ndelu found no reason to hurry a decision, now that the two men had died. Why not put the matter to the custodians of the land, those same ones who provided life? If he only followed the opinions he heard...

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Chapter Six

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pp. 57-80

The Meamba towards which our father had sent his last gaze lay to the west of Nwemba. Its zinc-roofed houses shone in the bright sun in the day, and in the night its sky twinkled as if lit by flying crowds of fireflies...

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Chapter Seven

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pp. 81-88

Tankeh stood by the pond with his back to the path, his broad shoulders arched stiffly forward into a muscular crescent. His gaze, alert and strong as usual, was fixed on a crimson barbet that lay panting faintly, half-buried in the mud just within reach in the dried-up pond...

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Chapter Eight

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pp. 89-102

My door creaked open and a shadow crept in. I didn’t raise my head as the light footsteps made the effort unnecessary.
“Where are you from at this time of night?” I questioned as I continued to oil the figure I was on...

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Chapter Nine

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pp. 103-112

She wasn’t with me. She wasn’t here in any case. Not here. Not here… The words darted and kicked about in my head, knocked and whistled like sizzling meatballs in steaming oil. What a fool I’d been to stir the...

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Chapter Ten

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pp. 113-120

Aunt Sabina had arrived from Tazim the following day and chosen to live with Uncle Abua instead. Good news for Lemea; at least she would not be under the woman’s nose for tormenting instructions on...

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Chapter Eleven

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pp. 121-124

Tankeh Winjala’s house stood at some distance away from the village centre, so that if Nwemba was a living organism that house would not be anywhere near its heart but somewhere at the extremities from where...

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Chapter Twelve

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pp. 125-128

The hall was taut, not least because of the royal presence. Chief Ndelu sat enthroned on his teak stool, the scooped seat of which was borne by three half-raised tigers whose hind paws gripped the earth with...

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Chapter Thirteen

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pp. 129-134

We feared for Masutu’s life. It was not unusual for anyone who got into a fight with Tankeh Winjala to end up in the grave. So far only I alone had stood up to him. So the fear was deep in people. Those of...

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Chapter Fourteen

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pp. 135-140

The solitary house remained enveloped in mystery. As usual, smoke trickled through the grass roof in the evening; but whereas this had been only an occasional happening in the past, the village was now...

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Chapter Fifteen

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pp. 141-144

Uncle Abua loved palmwine, best of all when it touched the tongue with a flavour of intrigue. He had the mouth of a connoisseur and could tell good palmwine with a drop against his tongue. Knowledge of...

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Chapter Sixteen

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pp. 145-150

I walked off, not home, but to see Masutu in bed, neck swollen where the flying charge had hit him. The swelling was caught in ghelang paste.
“This is me,” Masutu said with considerable effort, touching the swelling lightly...

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Chapter Seventeen

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pp. 151-156

Masutu improved fast, thanks mainly to the ghelang paste and its work on the damaged parts of his neck, especially the flesh underneath. You had to look at him closely to know that Tankeh’s flying leg had...

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Chapter Eighteen

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pp. 157-166

Dry season came, and with it the second contest. All the nets were out, and the village was also humming with names of the favourite contenders…Banda…Tankeh. Where two people stood, only our two names were mentioned. It was as if all other...

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9789956715527
Print-ISBN-13: 9789956558582

Page Count: 172
Publication Year: 2009