Reading the book, my heart was heavy. I silently wondered whether my City-born and bred 12 year old brother would understand and relate to the Fables. The longest he has been in the village is like 5 days during the Christmas holidays which means he has no clue what happens at the `mugyera', or even what `kasiku' is.
As a dotcom fellow now, i am forever grateful for the long holidays I spent with my grandparents and all the mischief we got up to as little kids in the countryside! My only concern is that when i finally decide to have kids, will they have the same privileges I had growing up? My Mum also a dotcom mum so she won't be sitting around to tell stories of `burekura and bukurura' I can only be grateful to Brian for writing Fables out of Nyanja.
The book is a reflection of sweet childhood innocence. To the Africans especially Ugandans whose lives didn't rotate around hide and seek games in the urban and peri-urban neighborhoods, this should be the best nostalgic book they will ever read!
To folks who may not know what `Runonko Time' is, I can simply equate the book as an African or better still Ugandan version of "To Kill a Mocking Bird" taken from a childhood's point of view. Better still, if you have read John Grisham's `A Painted House' you would relate perfectly. As a young boy growing up in the cotton fields of rural Arkansas, Luke Chandler knew that harvest time is every one's favorite time. You know when it is a "good crop" or not and in "It is Runonko Time" it was a "great crop"
Uganda has different cultures and so things tend to be different. Being a Muhima, the only problem I found reading the book were the Rukiga words which thanks to whoever did the translations in the book, I was able to understand. There isn't a story I didn't understand from the heart because whereas Kankazi goes to the mugyera to fetch water in "I am not a parrot", I went to the mugyera to kweshera (taking cows to the river to quench their thirst). I may not be so aware of what folks from other tribes did during their childhood but I am sure they atleast enjoyed the harvest season and so can relate a lot with `It is Runonko Time'.
Bottom line, I loved the book. When i have kids someday, i will definately read to them Fables out of Nyanja as a bedtime story. I'm sure, they will enjoy the stories. This is my heritage, my history and my pride. Thanks Brian Bwesigye for the memories.