When Rain Clouds Gather is Bessie Head's first novel. Primarily focusing on the Nkosijhoweverj finds Bessie Head wanting in this respect. He finds her. When rain clouds gather: a novel by Bessie Head; 1 edition; First published in ; Subjects: Accessible book, Protected DAISY. Read "When Rain Clouds Gather And Maru" by Bessie Head available from Rakuten Kobo. Sign up today and get $5 off your first download. When Rainclouds.
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Luckily for him Matenge is attacked by sickness, and Joas is sent on a six-month mission duty. Paulina and Maria require Makhaya in their lives, with Paulina the most serious candidate. She is clearly in love with Makhaya, who seem to happy to be having break from politics. Maria is eyeing Gilbert now although his culture seems to be strange to her, for example he kept pets at home. Despite that that was a big day, he still wanted to address issues pertaining to the cultivation for self-sufficiency.
Head puts great stock in the powerful metaphor of water in this thirstland, from which the title of the book derives. Sometimes we see the rain clouds gather even though not a cloud appears in the sky. It is all in our heart. Primary to the narrative is Makhaya, who is troubled, and whose faith in people has been damaged.
When he arrives at the village of Golema Mmidi, he is rootless and has no real plans going forward. We learn that he is a man who is dissatisfied with traditional values and who also has no great love for authority figures which is understandable, considering that he has fled South Africa.
Yet in the village, he encounters a white man, Gilbert, who has also rejected his home Britain for the life of a pioneer in Africa. In the UK, Gilbert is stifled, forced to live according to social conventions.
He is once again coming up against tradition in Africa, yet he is a dreamer who sees boundless potential for prosperity, and here he feels he is in a position to inspire those around him to strive for this brighter future. But we are also faced with the two chiefs. Paramount Chief Sekoto is not a bad man, though he enjoys the many fruits of his powerful position.
It is at his behest that the biggest decisions affecting his lands and his people are made.
For all his faults, he is a generous man, and he has a good relationship with the British administrators and his own people. Although his younger brother Matenge is the opposite to him, that same generosity of spirit sees him give Matenge the benefit of his doubt.
Chief Matenge rules over Golema Mmdi but he is a small-minded, petty man, concerned that he should be respected because of who and what he is. For him it is all about the principle of being the one in power rather than caring for and guiding a community as a true leader. Although she never became comfortable in this language derived from Cape Town's early Dutch settlers , she was soon able to get by. What she found more difficult to accept were the divisions in this community by skin tone and economic status.
She was too dark to join the elite, so she preferred to associate with the workers and underclass in District Six , the large Coloured community that lived on the west side of Table Mountain , not far from the centre. Between her work and her lodgings in District Six, the young provincial newcomer quickly adopted to the style and pace of the big city. She also became more acutely aware of South Africa's many internal conflicts. Here she met such noted writers as Lewis Nkosi , Can Themba , and Dennis Brutus and experimented with her own independent writing.
But her life-changing experiences at this time were coming into contact with black nationalist political writings, especially those of the Pan-Africanists George Padmore and Robert Sobukwe. One of Padmore's books "gave me a new skin and a new life that was totally unacceptable to conditions down there," she later wrote.
She also came into contact with jazz and jazz musicians, developing an instant crush on the young Abdullah Ibrahim , aka Dollar Brand, who led the country's foremost jazz ensemble.
The Sharpeville massacre ensued, triggering decisive political and social changes in South Africa.
Black political parties were banned and thousands of activists were arrested. Head worked briefly to support PAC prisoners before being arrested herself in an ugly incident of mutual betrayal among PAC sympathisers. Although the charges against her were eventually dismissed, she soon spiralled down into a deep depression and attempted suicide.
After a brief hospitalization, she returned to Cape Town, temporarily broken in spirit and disillusioned with politics. She began to smoke and drink.
In July she met Harold Head, a well-spoken young Coloured man from Pretoria who had many of the same intellectual interests as herself. Six weeks later they were married, and on May 15, their only child, Howard Rex Head was born. Bessie also wrote a dramatic novella, The Cardinals, that went unpublished for thirty years. But mostly the Heads were poor and their marriage was deteriorating.
Howard proved to be an unsmiling baby. In great frustration Bessie left Cape Town at the end of to live with her mother-in-law near Pretoria, taking Howard with her. When that relationship also broke down, Head had had enough. She applied for a teaching job in the neighbouring Bechuanaland Protectorate now Botswana and was accepted.
Although she could not obtain a passport, a friend helped her to obtain a one-way exit permit. Toward the end of March she and her son boarded a train for the north.
Head never saw South Africa again. It would take 15 years for Head to obtain Botswana citizenship. Head settled in Serowe ,  the largest of Botswana's "villages" i. Serowe was famous both for its historical importance, as capital of the Bamangwato people, and for the experimental Swaneng school of Patrick van Rensburg.
The deposed chief of the Bamangwato, Seretse Khama , was soon to become the first president of independent Botswana.
Her early death in Serowe in aged 48 from hepatitis came just at the point where she was starting to achieve recognition as a writer and was no longer so desperately poor.
Her last novel, A Bewitched Crossroad , is historical, set in 19th-century Botswana. She had also written a story of two prophets, one wealthy and one who lived poorly called "Jacob: The Faith-Healing Priest". Religious ideas feature prominently at times, as in the work A Question of Power.
Head was initially brought up as a Christian; however, she was later influenced by Hinduism to which she was exposed through South Africa's Indian community. An exception is the novel The Cardinals published posthumously , set in South Africa.
She struggled with mental illness and suffered a major psychotic episode in , which led to a period of hospitalisation in Lobatse Mental Hospital.
A Question of Power, which Bessie Head considered as "almost autobiographical" was written after this episode. Heinemann , Macmillan Education, Maru — London: Gollancz, New York: McCall, Heinemann African Writers Series , ; New York: Pantheon ,