Analysis Of Looking For A Rain God By Bessie Emery Head
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Bessie Emery Head is widely considered as Botswana 's most important writer. Bessie Emery Head was born in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, the child of a wealthy white South African woman and a black servant when interracial relationships were illegal in South Africa. It was claimed that her mother was mentally ill so that she could be sent to a quiet location to then give birth to Bessie without the neighbors knowing. In the 1950s and 60s she was a teacher, then a journalist for Drum, a South African magazine. In 1964 she moved to Botswana as a refugee, having been peripherally involved with Pan-African politics. It would take 15 years for Head to obtain Botswana citizenship. Head settled in Serowe, the largest of Botswana 's "villages" (i.e. traditional settlements as opposed to settler towns). 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 1986 in the age of 49 from hepatitis came just at the point where she was starting to achieve recognition as a writer and was no longer so desperately poor.
Bessie Head’s “Looking for a Rain God” tells the story of a family of African villagers who make their living by farming the scrubby land known as the bush. Farmers do not actually live on the land they farm. They have to journey out into the