Breath of Africa
Nominated for The Guardian First Book Award and Not The Booker Prize 2013
Dedicated to the people of Kenya, BREATH OF AFRICA is a novel by Jane Bwye, retired businesswoman and intermittent freelance journalist who lived over half a century in Africa.
After the 2013 elections and the Westgate siege, Kenya moves on in hope, epitomised in the book, which means different things to different people; it can be read as a love story, a psychological thriller, or as an exploration into the interactions of people of different races. Superstition and Christian faith clash. And the stunning beauty of the country is a major character in itself.
Caroline is a privileged woman from the highlands, and Charles Ondiek, a farm labourer with dreams of Oxford. A drama of psychological terror is fuelled by Mau Mau oath administrator, Mwangi, but against the backdrop of Kenya’s beautiful but hostile desert, the curse is finally broken.
It can be bought from The Book Depository with FREE Delivery Worldwide!
You can order a personalised signed copy by contacting me HERE.
In Nairobi, it is stocked by THE BOOKSTOP, Ya Ya Centre.
The proceeds of every copy of BREATH OF AFRICA sold goes to ST PETER’S LIFE LINE. This UK registered charity was founded in 2009 by David Baldwin who was born and brought up in Kenya. After many years away, he responded to a cry in the wilderness from Kajuki, a village in the shadow of Mt. Kenya.
Schools and classrooms are being built, and mothers made aware of the evils of Female Genital Mutilation. They have also embraced the idea of turning their lives into micro-businesses, using the Grameen system, pioneered by Nobel laureate, Bangladeshi Professor Yunus.
|bibis||Pronounced 'bee-bees', wives|
|bwana||of Arabic origin, used as a respectful form of address for a man|
|chai||literally 'tea'. Another word for bribe.|
|chang'aa||an illegal alcoholic drink, distilled from grains, which is very potent.|
|Chini Club||literally 'the Club down below', the Mombasa Club on the shores of the old harbour, exclusive to Europeans|
|Coup||The coup of 1982, attempted by disaffected politicians, was quickly smothered by the Government, under President Daniel arap Moi. After the Coup, Kenya became a one-party state.|
|Daniel arap Moi||A member of the Kalenjin tribal community. He was Vice President of Kenya in 1967, and succeeded the Kikuyu Jomo Kenyatta as President from 1978-2002. In turn, Moi's Vice-President was a member of the Kikuyu tribe.|
|duka||small wayside shop|
|habari||how is everything, or how are you?|
|Harambee||We will all pull together. The slogan of President Jomo Kenyatta when he came to power at Independence in 1963. Included in this invitation were people of all races, in an effort to foster reconciliation.|
|Hola Massacre||A dark moment in Kenya's history in 1959, when hard core detainees in Hola prison camp got out of hand, and were beaten by local warders in the absence of officers, who had devised a divide and rule technique to force the prisoners to work. Eleven died. The name of the place was changed, and the event hastened the granting of Independence.|
|Independence||The Mau Mau rebellion precipitated the granting of Independence to Kenya in 1963. There was a major exodus of settler farmers in the run up to Independence, as they took advantage of the British Government's compensation program for improvements to the land, which had been allocated to them in the early 1900's.|
|ingini||pidgin Swahili for "more."|
|Jomo Kenyatta||A member of the Kikuyu tribe, he was Kenya's first President. He went to mission school, and after furthering his education in England and Russia, he returned to Kenya to play an active part in politics. He was arrested in 1952 for implication in the Mau Mau movement, and finally released in 1961. During his term of office, Kenya was a two-party Republic.|
|jua kali||literally 'hot sun', refers to businesses open to the elements|
|KPR||Kenya Police Reserve, formed in 1948 to support the regular police|
|kanzu||long white robe worn by African house servants|
|kikapu||Pronounced 'kee-kaa-poo', a commonly used soft basket made of woven straw.|
|kikoi||a colourful length of cotton, fringed at each end, often worn round the waist|
|Kikuyu||farming people of Bantu origin, the largest ethnic group in Kenya, who started the Mau Mau rebellion of the 1950's|
|kitenge||length of colourful multipurpose cotton|
|Kukes||White settler slang for their Kikuyu labourers. The Mau Mau terrorists belonged to the Kikuyu tribe.|
|lakini||but, or however|
|Masai||Pronounced Maaa- sai. A powerful semi-nomadic warrior tribe of Nilotic origin, whose lives centre round the herding of cattle. Traditional enemy of the Kikuyu.|
|matatus||pronounced 'maa-taa-toos', local taxis, usually minibuses, which were crammed with as many people as possible|
|Mathare||The name given to notorious slums on the outskirts of Nairobi, bordering on the exclusive suburb of Muthaiga|
|Mau Mau||Liberation fighters from the Kikuyu tribe against the white farmers during the 1950's, which led to Kenya's Independence in 1963|
|memsahib||originating from India, colonial title of respect for white women|
|Mzee||to rhyme loosely with 'day', this is the respectful Kiswahili word for 'old man'|
|mzungu||a white man|
|mzuri||well, or good|
|nusu-nusu||literally half-half. A person who is half one race, half another|
|Ondiek||pronounced 'On-dee-eck'. Charles Omari Ondiek is a member of the agricultural Kisii tribe. Of Bantu origin, the Kisii occupied fertile land along the shores of Lake Victoria, and frequently battled against the neighbouring Masai.|
|posho||porridge made with maize meal|
|rungu||traditional weapon comprising a stick with a heavy knob on the end|
|shambas||farmland, small holdings|
|shauri ya mungu||God's will|
|sijui||pronounced 'si-jew-ee', I don't know|
|sufuria||metal cooking pot|
|sukuma wiki||literally 'pushing the week', a hardy vegetable, which tastes like spinach, eaten when there is nothing left of the weekly wage|
|syce||Arabic origin, common word for a groom|
|Tanganyika||A sovereign state in East Africa, south of Kenya, until 1964 when it joined with Zanzibar and the name was changed to Tanzania|
|thahu||Pronounced 'Thaa – hoo', curse|
|totos||Pronounced 'toe-toes', children|