By Doris Lessing

A hugely own tale of the eminent British author returning to her African roots that's "brilliant . . . [and] captures the contradictions of a tender country."--New York instances publication Review

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Extra info for African Laughter: Four Visits to Zimbabwe

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In addition to the cattle there are many more goats, perhaps four times as many, and a few thousand sheep which are kept mainly for sacrificial purposes. The hides of cattle which have been sacrificed at funerals are collected, dried and sold. The sale of hides at Mariakani cattle auctions is much greater than that of live cattle. As regards live cattle, over a four-year period no more than one or two per cent of cattle were reported as sold at the auction, though an indeterminately greater number are sold to fellow Giriama, mostly for funeral sacrifices, especially to people in the eastern farming areas.

More pipelines are promised and there is growing confidence that this will be done and that more people will benefit. Perhaps, indeed, there may even be a reversal of the alleged out-migration of people from the dry, inland pastures to the wetter, fertile region closer to the coast where the coconut palms grow. Perhaps land-starved farmers from the densely settled coastal zone will repopulate the more arid areas and keep livestock as well as growing maize and other crops. But these are hopes for the future.

Mijikenda can also be rendered as 'the nine Kaya' (Makayachenda) and points to the idea both of the unity of the Mijikenda people and of the fact that each has or had a major capital or Kaya at its heart. Early on I was given a highly idealised picture of Mijikenda segmentary unity, which the Mijikenda Union sought to encapsulate, and which presupposes Kaya sacredness. The nine peoples known as the Giriama, Chonyi, Jibana (Dzihana), Kambe, Kauma, Ribe (Rihe), Digo, Rabai (Rahai) and Duruma make up the Fantasies of the west 33 Mijikenda.

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