The River Between (African Writers Series)
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Christian missionaries attempt to outlaw the female circumcision ritual and in the process create a terrible rift between the two Kikuyu communities on either side of the river.
high up in the sky and the two men had taken shelter under a tree. “Yes . . . it is strange,” repeated Chege. “All the other girls have left, their wounds nearly dry scars.” “And she? Left in the . . .” “Oh, no. She stays with her aunt. Her wound, we hear, is getting bigger and worse.” “A father’s curse.” “Maybe.” “These Christians. They will never come to any good,” the elder commented slowly, shaking his head. “I have always said so. You see what discord in the family does. If Joshua had
age or to the realization that his time was gone. It was the sigh of many who that night and weeks after talked of Muthoni’s death. The fact was that nobody knew for sure what the death portended. • • • Far away in Siriana, it was a sigh with a different meaning. The death of Muthoni forever confirmed the barbarity of Gikuyu customs. Livingstone, the head of the Mission, had always shown reluctance in penetrating the ridges. He had always liked the idea of training some Mission boys who could
to lead or manage something that was big. “Perhaps it is the white man’s learning!” they said. “No! Do you not remember him as a boy?” “Yes—always queer—and full of quiet courage.” “It is the line he descends from. Don’t you remember his father?” “Yes. He was—” Waiyaki was becoming the pride of the hills and the pride of Kameno. Already they had started calling him the champion of the tribe’s ways and life. CHAPTER FIFTEEN He could not sleep. Thin rays of the moon passed through the
intensely about his people. He looked forward to the day early next year when the parents would gather again, when he would tell them all to unite. But unite for what? To Waiyaki the white man’s education was an instrument of enlightenment and advance if only it could be used well. He still remembered his father’s words, that long time ago, when they stood on a hill, the whole country before them: “Learn all the wisdom and all the secrets of the white man. But do not follow his vices.” Was
like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’s den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. That was her religion. That was what she now wanted for her tribe. It was the faith that would give life and peace to all. So she clung to this now as she prayed that Waiyaki would come back to her. He came. Not when she