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The Gathering Storm

Hamza Sokko

Publication Year: 2012

The slow awakening of the people of Bulembe to the true meaning of 'independence' encapsulated in the parallel stories of the Kamuyuga family, who shed their old identity and turn into the wealth-grabbing 'Alkarims', and the Lubele family, who remain exploited peasants. But do the people remain forever caught under the burdens of the past, blinded by the skin-deep 'changes' to the present? This is revealed through the eyes of Simon Lubele, son of Bulembe dedicated to real change. Hamza Sokko renders the tranquil beauty of the Anyalungu plateau on which Bulembe lies, deep-rooted customs of its peasants, the crushing twin burdens of static African tradition and oppressive colonial machinery with poignancy and quiet insight.

Published by: African Books Collective

Title page

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Copyright page

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pp. 1-8

There is an earth road running straight north of Bulembe. It runs thus for about twenty miles and then it begins to wind its way down the high Anyalungu plateau before it turns east to join Morogoro and ultimately Dar es Salaam. ...

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pp. 9-19

The sun shone very brightly one afternoon, sending its hot rays scorching the red soil of Bulembe. The few tinned roofs dazzled the eyes of the small number of persons to be seen in the town. The market place, as usual, was filled with people selling provisions. ...

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pp. 20-32

That evening, Lubele went to bed very early. For a long time he kept looking at the roof as if his thoughts were all spread out on the thatch. He recalled things, those which were hidden under their black nature and others under the great heap called Time; things which he saw happen and those passed on to him by others. ...

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pp. 33-41

The rains had come round again. No more time for idle gatherings, no more time for much drinking. Women turned the rice fields their new homes, where they stayed the whole day long. They always worked from dawn to dusk, with everybody complaining of shortage of time. Men seemed to have nothing to do in particular. ...

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pp. 42-50

For three days it had continued to rain in the same manner. Nobody went out to work. The sun, too, never came out until late in the afternoons. Mist lay here and there over the Mpunguta hills in the distance. However, Lubele had managed to check on the improvement of Kamuyuga’s health. Every day he crossed ...

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pp. 51-63

... In the mornings people were engaged in the preparation of shambas for the coming rainy season. Men were engaged in preparing virgin land for the coming year. They pruned bushes and branches of the tall miombo trees to allow the sun’s rays to reach the growing plants beneath. For such work, one usually ...

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pp. 64-77

The cock-crow had become a monotonous song, but many people still kept in their beds. The large feet of Lubele wiped the cold morning dew from the moistened leaves and grass that lay deep on the narrow path to Bulembe. His left hand was stretched high, holding in position a big basket on his head as his right-gripped tight and raised ...

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pp. 78-89

Three days later Mugindi, Kamuyuga’s wife, brewed some beer. This was for no ceremonial purpose but simply a means to get cash. Lubele had gone to Bulembe to sell his bananas early in the morning. He came back to Nlimanja quite late in the afternoon. ...

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pp. 90-104

... It was in the afternoon. He was sitting in his compound basking in the sun when Kadufi came. Lubele fetched a stool from the kitchen and gave it to him. Kadufi seated himself without a word. After a brief exchange of greetings the two kept looking at each other like two wild cats. Kadufi had never been to the ...

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pp. 105-118

Chief Gumwele sat on the verandah of his palace. He had put on a black suit that day. A black mpingo stick carved in the shape of a snake was held in his two hands, between his thighs, and occasionally he raised it and let it drop, tutting on the hard cement floor. Three elders in shukas slung over their shoulders sat at his sides. There was not much talk. ...

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pp. 119-127

... Mbembela looked doubtful. He couldn’t answer straight away. But the sharp eyes of Kadufi worried him. He hesitat ed and was about to answer by explaining what had happened at the chief’s, detail by detail. But his tongue slipped and a “yes” came out. His eyes shone. ...

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pp. 128-144

Dawn fell upon Mbazala Mission. Dew lay everywhere, on the tall steeple, on the creeping grass of the mission com pounds, on the leaves of the tall cone-tree that surrounded it, everywhere. It was chilly. Two hundred metres away from, the mission house lay the Mbazala Boys’ Boarding Middle School. ...

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pp. 145-157

A light wind blew over the town, picking up scraps of paper in its current, wherever they drifted up to the red walls of the mud houses. It was cold and the market was becoming less and less peopled. Music blared from the huge radios in the Indian shops, their usual Gujerati music being in full tide. ...

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pp. 158-168

The year 1958 was passing away. The Christmas holidays were approaching with them the end of the school year. The clouds cleared and the sun shone on Mbazala Mission. On the school quadrangle the boys had lined up before a huge crowd of onlookers. In front of them chairs were arranged in three lines. Guests from ...

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pp. 169-180

In the latter part of the decade the land underwent great change. Some several years back a wave had started in the capital with high intensity, but it kept growing smaller and smaller as it swept far and wide across the land. For a long time Bulembe remained unstirred. But as years went by the wave gathered greater power ...

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pp. 181-186

The independence movement for most people of Bulembe was much beyond their understanding, despite the many meetings that were organized from time to time. However, the people showed much interest in the affairs of the party. Whether Uhuru would materialize as they heard in the speeches by party officials ...

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pp. 187-197

Two years later, Uhuru, the dreamed Independence, materialized. On the 9th of December 1961, the Uhuru day, the celebrations in Bulembe came. Nobody could in anyway compare the celebrations of Uhuru with any others before: beer parties, demonstrations, football matches, choirs dancing and many ...

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pp. 198-207

Several more years after Uhuru had gone by. Mpunguta and Bulembe had changed greatly. There were many more people in the town itself and with the increase, more buildings had been erected. The clusters of mud houses roofed with thatch had been largely replaced by brick buildings with glimmering corrugated ...

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pp. 208-220

The next day at ten in the morning there was already a big crowd at Hamniwezi. Alkarim had alighted from his pick-up van with a lot of people dressed in white kanzus and caps. Some had coats on top of their kanzus. There were Saidi-wa-manamba and other town Muslims. They were all very happy. The Idd-el-Haji ...

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pp. 221-231

A bus sped along the tarmac road from Dar es Salaam on one fine morning and gained speed as time elapsed. The spongy seats bumped up and down comfortably. It was a new bus and printed on the side in block capitals was DAR-BULEMBE, above the owner’s name—B. J. KHANJI & SONS. ...

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pp. 232-243

Alkarim didn’t feel it safe to let Moina continue to live out of his compound when Lunja was at Nlimanja. Four days after the arrival of Lunja he took the girl’s hand in marriage. The scene at Hamniwezi was filled with people. They ate, drank, sang and danced in celebration. But the celebrations didn’t last long. There ...

Back cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9789987082117
Print-ISBN-13: 9789987082025

Page Count: 248
Publication Year: 2012