Tambudza felt no sadness when hearing of her brother's death after years of being oppressed by him. She is a young girl struggling to escape the perimeters of her patriarchal society but she wouldn't be able to express her feelings in that manner. She is 13. The action takes place in Rhodesia in the 1960's. Her brother Nhamo, the only boy, had been given preferential treatment by their uncle Mukamo in that he is being educated at the Mission where the Uncle is employed as headmaster.
Mukamo is the achiever in a family whose other members remain uneducated and poor. Tambudza begged to be allowed to go to school but her father refused. She managed to find a way to obtain money for her fees. Then, when Nhamo became ill suddenly and died, she was given his place at the school. Where formerly Nhamo had the bright future, one that would take him away from his family homestead, now Tambudza is the favored one. She couldn't have been happier. Her father, Jeremiah, is a lazy worthless fellow and her mother beaten down by poverty and despair.
Mokamo, her uncle, and his wife go to London to work on their further degrees with their children Nyasha and Chido who are introduced to new ideas about how people should live. Conflict and rebellion follow them home. Tambudza is witness to this by virtue of her sharing a room with Nyasha while attending the mission school. Tambudza wins a scholarship to the more prestigious Sacred Heart school and sees a bright future while watching Nyasha become ill as she is torn between rebellion and guilt.
This report prepared by Coletta Ollerer