ISBN 9789987411177
Pages 344
Dimensions 216 x 140 mm
Published 2005
Publisher E & D Ltd., Tanzania
Format Paperback

Broken Reed

by Sophia Mustafa

Broken Reed is Sophia Mustafa’s most recent work, published in the country the author considered her home, Tanzania, shortly after her death in September 2005. She initially began work on the novel in 1947 when she was a refugee from the partition of India in 1947. She worked on the book over the ensuing decades drawing on her experiences of living between East Africa and the Indian sub- continent, finally completing the work in the relative tranquillity of Canada where she lived from 1989.

The completed novel is an affecting tale of confinement, love and the urge of freedom taking place during a sensitive and traumatic historical period. The protagonist, Nureen, is a Muslim woman of great spirits and personal independence, who experiences and survives the emotional turmoil of Indian independence, a transplanted upbringing in Africa, and an imposed arranged marriage to a Pakistani cousin.

The novel is at once vivid account of the cultural damage caused by colonial rule; an exploration of the inward, personal conflicts between modernity, feminist consciousness, and often repressive traditional culture; and a critique of the cultural crises unleashed by post-colonial nationalism and identity politics.

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About the Author

Sophia Mustafa

Sophia Mustafa (1922-2005) was a writer, literacy and political activist of high acclaim. She is author of the novel In the Shadow of Kirinyaga (Tsar Publications, Toronto, 2002), a story set in early colonial Kenya, told from the perspective of a Muslim family. She was one of Tanzania’s first women members of parliament. Of Kashmiri Indian origin, she grew up and lived in East Africa, where she was active in developing literacy, libraries and newspapers in rural areas.

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