East africa

We survived the worst drought in a generation

The Farm, Laikipia I realised the worst drought of this generation was at last over this morning when two Samburu gentlemen arrived on the farm, asking to buy rams. My nomadic neighbours sense very well when it’s time to put a tup in with the flock. In just this month a full moon and the alignment of Lokir Ai and Lakira Dorop – Jupiter and Venus – had brought six inches of downpours, equal to almost all of last year’s rain and half of the precipitation in 2021. As Mr Lemartile crouched behind my Dorper rams, happily dandling their testicles for size and girth, we caught up on gossip and

A melting pot of mercenaries: Afterlives, by Abdulrazak Gurnah, reviewed

‘That was how that part of the world was at the time. Every bit of it belonged to Europeans, at least on a map.’ That part of the world is East Africa, particularly what is now Tanzania, whose early-20th-century history is the backdrop to Abdulrazak Gurnah’s Afterlives. The novel spans the years preceding and during the first world war, when East Africa was colonised by the Germans and British. The turbulent history of the region is relayed through the unanchored lives of three adolescents — Hamza, Ilyas and his sister Afiya. For various reasons, they find themselves uprooted and isolated from their families. Their life paths cross via Khalifa, a