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Florence Ndiyah

Publication Year: 2011

Fatti Ashi died. Startling her family and community, she comes back to life just a few hours after dying. Blessing chronicles the life of this Fatti Ashi, a young village girl who from the moment she rejoins the land of the living is faced with both obstacles and opportunities consistent with an attempted mergence of two worlds. From a child who is molded with her fatherís advice to merge ancestral skull worship and Christianity to an underprivileged teenager who falls in love with the alphabet and finally becoming a woman who desires emotional and financial independence, Fatti Ashiís life yields misunderstandings and isolation. As a child in the village, her life is a battleground for family rivalry and religious conflict. As a teenage wife in the city, she befriends a sex worker who encourages her to bring meaning into her life rather than simply living to the dictates of others. She takes up the challenge by embarking on adult education and becoming a breadwinner but is taken aback when her husband requests a divorce. In a search for solutions to save her marriage, she entertains traditional religion, Catholicism and Pentecostalism. Disappointment and desperation lead her to take a deeper look at the situation. Is she to stay married simply for convenience? Is she to continue following religious paths laid out by others, clearly not as beneficial to her? Is she to please society to her detriment? The long journey of self-discovery takes her through scandal and humiliation but in the end, she emerges as a confident, admired and happy woman.

Published by: African Books Collective

Title Page

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Copyright Page

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pp. v

Part I

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pp. 1-117

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Chapter 1

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pp. 3-20

Thieves love the night because it protects them. What protects the night when it decides to steal? What gives it permission to act with such impunity? How could it steal so easily and pass so undetected? How could it mock them so? Why had it...

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Chapter 2

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pp. 21-30

Like a flame fighting against the wind, Fatti had fought against death and triumphed. Her flame was now burning brightly. She had become the star of the village. Everyone wanted to talk to her. Everyone wanted to hear her story. Everyone...

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Chapter 3

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pp. 31-40

Nchumuluh was a small village. Mumba was an even smaller quarter in the village, a quiet place where people worried mostly about the welfare of their families and community. It was a place where the people all spoke one language and...

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Chapter 4

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pp. 41-52

February sailed along gracefully with life for the Fopous being as normal as it could be. Day after day, the boys ran after knowledge or cattle, while the women bent over farms, deracinate shrubs and stumps, gathering and burning, and...

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Chapter 5

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pp. 53-66

Temkeu shoved the blanket from his body, jumped out of bed and fastened his loincloth. Yawning and stretching, inching and groping, he unlatched the door and flung it open. Outside, he traced the familiar path to the back of his hut...

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Chapter 6

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pp. 67-79

Following a plebiscite on the 1st of October 1961, British Southern Cameroons had opted for independence by joining the Republic of Cameroon. Hence, British Southern Cameroons was known as West Cameroon and the Republic...

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Chapter 7

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pp. 81-89

Temkeu had lived through many mornings but this one was proving to be different in every way. Before leaving his house, he described his second wife’s breakfast as chicken feed offered to dogs and referred to Fatti as his thirteenth...

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Chapter 8

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pp. 91-103

Three weeks after Makam’s death and one week before Easter, Fatti was on her way to the farm when she ran into Fr. Maxworth Cain. ‘Fatti, come my daughter,’ he called out...

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Chapter 9

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pp. 105-106

Angu had barely started getting used to having a young, firm body in his bed when Fatti fell seriously ill. Considered a portent for a new bride to fall so ill so soon, she was returned to her parents just two weeks after she had bid...

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Chapter 10

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pp. 107-117

The news that Angu had thrown his manhood met Mefo as she returned from the farm that evening. She threw aside the bag of cocoyams she had been carrying on her head and carried her head instead. When her head became too heavy...

Part II

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Chapter 11

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pp. 121-127

"So many people talk of reunions, but so few narrow their talk down to family reunions. It is often class, village or professional reunion. People look for the least reason to unite; yet the standard human unit is often the last on their...

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Chapter 12

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pp. 129-137

To a person born into shoes, they will be a number of leather straps attached to a flat rubber sole; yet to Fatti they were the best thing she had ever held – the way she pampered and revered them said as much. In fact, she had not taken her...

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Chapter 13

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pp. 139-145

Fatti Ashi yawned and stretched. Her eyes still closed, she lifted her hand to her face and clawed her jaw. One second, she was still as though back to sleep; the next, she was wriggling her...

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Chapter 14

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pp. 147-155

"Our reading this morning is taken from Exodus 32:7-8. In this passage, we read about how God spoke to Moses, telling him to go down for the people, the Israelites, whom He had rescued from slavery in Egypt had...

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Chapter 15

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pp. 157-163

At fifteen, Peace Niba was what every rational parent in Yaoundé could hope for in a teenage daughter. While her parents’ friends called her an example, her schoolmates called her the superlative student....

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Chapter 16

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pp. 165-172

Fatti and Peace sat on the dining table, each engrossed in the fantasy world of the book in front of her. Feet balanced on a footstool, Polyandrew Niba was lounging on the sofa, listening to the eight o’clock radio news. Angela Niba, who...

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Chapter 17

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pp. 173-179

Another man. Another man had been imposed on her. The shame of a second failed marriage at her tender age would be too much. But was she ready for another experiment after the last one with Angu? Did she have what it took to make a...

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Chapter 18

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pp. 181-192

It was December 1967. Development in Nchumuluh had come on the back of a camel – slow and obsolete by Western standards. Yet the villagers had readily espoused each new project, which to them had been and continued to be as...

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Chapter 19

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pp. 193-200

Blessing followed Joseph from a winding stony track to a dusty footpath. They crossed over green puddles and stepped on animal waste as they delved deeper and deeper into the slumps of Yaoundé. They passed by men disgorging foamy...

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Chapter 20

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pp. 201-213

Her husband was off to work, the house as clean as she could make it, the furniture dusted and the food prepared. Blessing Tepo stepped out into the Tuesday morning sunshine. Her house stood in the middle of the compound...

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Chapter 21

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pp. 215-227

It was the beginning of another academic year. Blessing’s most treasured possession was her Primary School Leaving Certificate. Mozart had arrived from the village and was now part of the Tepo household. That was not the composition of Joseph’s ideal...

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Chapter 22

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pp. 229-239

By 1980, when Joseph was leaving to assume service in Douala where he had been posted as a police inspector, the household had received three additional members. A baby girl Angelina had been born the previous year and two of...

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Chapter 23

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pp. 241-253

Blessing had more reason to ask similar questions some months later, when Joseph came home from the North where he had spent the majority of the last two years to collect his belongings, all his...

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Chapter 24

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pp. 255-267

The first rains roused dormant dust particles, filling the air with the scent of dust. The second rains soaked into the earth. The third rains transformed the earth into the red mud characteristic of Yaoundé, which lumped beneath shoe soles...

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Chapter 25

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pp. 269-276

Sister Blessing Someone shook the unconscious figure arched on the pew, neck tilted at an uncomfortable angle...

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Chapter 26

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pp. 277-289

What should I do, Wini? Go to the North and kneel in front of Joseph or get the ball rolling on the divorce procedure? Look at me! I am still to hit forty, and though I supposedly bare the name of a man who is...

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Chapter 27

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pp. 291-307

The balcony had two tables. On one sat a young couple. When the man was not drumming his hand on the table, his plate empty, he was throwing secret smiles at the waitresses in short black skirts. The waitresses, torsos covered in white...


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pp. 309-310

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9789956726967
Print-ISBN-13: 9789956717231

Page Count: 318
Publication Year: 2011