When Rain Clouds Gather
by Bessie Head
A poverty-stricken village in the heart of rural Botswana is a haven to the exiles gathered there. When a political refugee from South Africa joins forces with an English agricultural expert, the time-honoured subsistence-farming method and old ways of life are challenged.
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- About the Author
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Bessie Emery Head (6 July 1937 – 17 April 1986), though born in South Africa, is usually considered Botswana's most influential 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 give birth to Bessie without the neighbours knowing. However, the exact circumstances are disputed, and some of Bessie Head's comments, though often quoted as straight autobiography, are in fact from fictionalized settings.
In the 1950s and '60s she was a teacher, then a journalist for the South African magazine Drum. In 1964 she moved to Botswana (then still the Bechuanaland Protectorate) as a refugee, having been peripherally involved with Pan-African politics.
Her early death in 1986 (aged 48) from hepatitis came just at the point where she was starting to achieve recognition as a writer and was no longer so desperately poor.
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by Bessie Head
An orphaned Masarwa girl comes to Dilepe to teach, only to discover that in this remote Botswana village her people are treated as outcasts.
In the love story and intrigue that follow, the author’s exploration of racism draws upon her own experiences of growing up in South Africa.