Title: The Sun Will Soon Shine
Author: Sally Sadie Singhateh
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Blurb: For an intelligent, ambitious girl growing up in a Gambian village, life holds few tempting prospects. Marriage and motherhood, often forced, are the paths assigned to most. Nyima, too, is subject to this fate. Despite the bleakness of life, she makes it through her darkest hours, and emerges stronger on the other side, though permanently scarred by her ordeals. It is in education and work that Nyima finds her salvation, and begins to rebuild her life, and indeed be reborn. The question is, though, can she ever truly love or trust again? This is a moving and emphatic tale of a young woman’s struggle to come to terms with her past and culture, and above all, the possibility of having a future to look forward to, no matter what the odds.
My Thoughts: Set in modern day Gambia THE SUN WILL SOON SHINE is a small book but it packs a powerful punch. Nyima is a young girl who loves school and is studying hard so she can go to university and become a teacher. Her plans all fall apart just before her thirteenth birthday when she is told by her grandfather that she will be marrying the richest man in her village and become his number 4 wife. Her husband is as old as her grandfather and all the weeping and cajoling in the world cannot change her grandfather’s mind. On her wedding night Nyima’s new husband rejects her as she has not undergone female circumcision something that is quickly remedied by her grandfather. The operation is carried out by an elderly woman in a remote hut with no anaesthesia or modern medication at all, she is just left lying on a mat to heal. Nyima is starting the darkest days of her life, her grandmother tells Nyima that although things seem very bad the sun will soon shine and this is a phrase that the young girl clings to as she enters her husband’s compound. How the sun eventually shines for Nyima is the subject of the story – Nyima is proud to be Gambian, she just want to be in charge of her own body and destiny and the men in her life just don’t want to let her.
An amazing story – I had my heart in my mouth and wept with sheer frustration that this still happens to women in some cultures to this day. There is hope though as women across Africa and the world take up the call to cease the practice of female circumcision.
There are not a lot of books written about Gambia – I have read two one being Reading the Ceiling by Dayo Forster and the other ‘Our Grandmothers’ Drums: A Portrait of Rural African Life & Culture’ by Mark Hudson – which I read before I had a blog. There are Gambian writers out there so will be keeping an eye out for more publications.
Rating: A – Excellent. I could not put it down.
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