Bite-size Review: The Collector Of Treasures and Other Botswana Village Tales | Bessie Head

AFRIKULT.’S OVERALL RATING: 

The Collector of Treasures and Other Botswana Village Tales | Bessie Head

The Collector of Treasures and Other Botswana Village Tales is a powerful collection of stories that centres on societal issues and human nature in a specifically African context. They are about the day to day lives and experiences that people go through in the midst of newly attained ‘independence’; issues such as power, sexuality, justice, tradition and modernity arise in a diverse yet interrelated range of ways that show how skilfully Head has gauged the relationship and connections the stories have with one another. Perhaps the most striking issue that Head presents to her readers is gender in the face of ‘modernity’, and the conflict that ensues due to the unavoidable evolution of the roles society had previously ascribed to women and men. The injustice that crops up in the stories stems from who has power in society and who does not, thus the murky undertone that permeates these human relationships is a reflection of the limitations and contradictions that ‘independence’ brought with it. Head assumes a non-judgemental, almost celestial-like tone throughout the collection which leaves you as the reader to reflect on the gravity of what you have just read and be simultaneously struck by the beautiful way in which it was done. This quietly determined way of making the reader aware of some important issues in Africa’s history makes for a wonderful read that is a distinctly insightful work of literary art.

 

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