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The Hundred Wells of Salaga

by Ayesha Harruna Attah

Set in pre-colonial, 18th century Ghana, this story follows two courageous and likeable young women: Wurche and Aminah. Both women face adversity, love and courage. The beautiful prose of this clearly written story shows their different status in life and their subsequent treatment. Wurche is a princess and is treated like one. Amina has been taken from her home. Slavery is vile, disgusting and incomprehensible both then and now.

Extract

The bright red fire ate everything, the smoke choked them, burned their eyes, and suddenly Aminah wasn't sure if being left behind was a blessing. She walked in a daze, unable to process what was going on. Something bad had happened, something bad was happening.
Issa tripped, Aminah tripped over him and Hassana fell with them. Then Husseina tripped over Aminah. The horsemen had helpers. They lashed at Aminah's shins, which got her on her feet. She straightened and helped Issa stand.
The village was burning up. They felt the heat even after the tallest tree appeared to be the size of a small branch. Nothing would survive a fire like that. Aminah choked up. Why had she been foolish? She should have woken Na. Tears made everything ahead watery. She couldn't see where her feet landed. Had Na and the baby and Eeyah survived? She retched when the thought of them burning to death. People snivelled and sobbed and whimpered. The crickets sang their same song: Kreee-kreee-kreee.

Parallels

Saturday's Shadows by Ayesha Harruna Attah
Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
 

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