This diaspora novel is a celebration of Indian and African culture seen through the eyes of a young woman. As a member of an Indian minority in a small African country, Shaza’s life is complicated. She lives in a lively house full of relatives. Later, she meets Idi Amin, the bloodthirsty Ugandan dictator and has a narrow escape…
Shaza goes to a convent school. Despite the strict rules, the girls are beginning to discover the opposite sex. Shaza is part of a Muslim family that emigrated from India, the old ways still rule. No one in Kenya dates, they just sneak around.
Shariff-Zia grew up in Nairobi, a tomboy who climbed trees and was always getting into trouble. She is the fifth generation of an Indian family who moved to Kenya from Gujarat. She attended Loreto Convent Msongari, a convent school run by Irish nuns. The author grew up speaking English, Gujarati and Swahili.
On December 12th, 1963 Kenya became independent from the British. So we grew up together, Kenya and I. The day I was born, it started raining heavily in the early morning and never stopped for the rest of the day. People loved and worshipped the rain in Kenya as it meant the crops would grow well. Mum had eaten black passion fruits the day before I was born, scooping out the pulp with a spoon straight into her mouth in a pregnancy craving. They always said I was a naughty girl because of it. The sour fruit made her stomach ache the next day so when the contractions started she ignored them.