Fiction for Young Adults

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Maillu, David G.

Sijui Kwetu Kamili

I Don’t Know My Home


Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: MPB Enterprises, 2005. 62 p.
ISBN 9976-983-30-1. Ages 8-12.


Language: Kiswahili


Publisher: MPB Enterprises


Summary
Wairimu Njoroge, a Kenyan high school girl, tells her life story to fellow participants at a Pan-African Children’s Conference in Arusha, Tanzania. The product of a shaky marriage, she is born in the Korokocho slum of Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. When she is six, her parents separate and abandon her, along with her brother, Kamau. While the brother takes to the streets, Wairimu chooses to be a housemaid until she meets a kind couple, the Wanjalas, who adopt her. The family gives her home tuition and, when she reaches the required educational standard, takes her to school where she passes her primary-level exams. She is admitted to Kenya High School, one of the most prestigious high schools in Kenya.

Commentary  
This is an optimistic story aimed at encouraging traumatised children to be patient and to work hard in order to succeed in life. The moral that hard work and patience pay is commendable, because there are many desperate street children in East Africa who often end up as criminals. The experiences of the glue-sniffing brother, Kamau, act as a foil to the persistent and lucky Wairimu. The first-person narrative is told in a Kiswahili that is full of humour and expressiveness.

 

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