The storyteller. Tambudzai. Tambu for short. begins this narrative at the terminal: “I was non regretful when my brother died. ” That happened in the twelvemonth 1968. and the first chapter sets the context for that event. In anecdotal manner. Tambu looks back at the twelvemonth 1965. when her male parent decided that Nhamo. Tambu’s older brother. would travel to the mission school and unrecorded with Babamukuru. Tambu’s uncle. She remembers how her male parent was ever thankful for the generousness of his brother. who had educated himself and therefore found fiscal success. He and his married woman. Maiguru. moved to England with their kids. Nyasha and Chido. for five old ages. Without Babamukuru’s generousness. the narrator’s household struggled financially. Mr. Matimba. Tambu’s instructor. advises her to sell the corn she grows in her garden to the White persons in town. They end up taking a press release from a white twosome. Under Mr. Matimba’s advice. Tambu gives the money to the school schoolmaster to maintain safe. so that she can utilize it to pay her school fees for the following few old ages. Despite her father’s protests and efforts to acquire the money for himself. the schoolmaster keeps the money and uses it to assist Tambu in her instruction. When Babamukuru and his household returned from England. Nhamo and his male parent take the trip to run into them at the airdrome and Tambu and her female parent scramble to happen the commissariats for a banquet.
Tambu is leery of her cousins Nyasha and Chido because of their Englishness ; they seem like prig. After dinner. in a meeting of the household patriarchate. Babamukuru reveals that he is worried about Jeremiah’s subdivision of the household. and insists that Nhamo go to populate with him at the mission school so he can be more committed to his surveies. After the first twelvemonth off. Nhamo has changed noticeably. His physical presence has become more anglicized. but he besides claims to hold forgotten how to talk Shona. The narrative leaps in front once more to 1968. when Babamukuru arrives to describe that Nhamo has died of a cryptic unwellness in a infirmary in town. When it is settled that Tambu shall go forth for the mission school in his topographic point. her female parent becomes exhaustively depressed and can non eat or work. Arriving at the mission. Tambu is overwhelmed by how beautiful everything seems. There is a what seems like a banquet for tiffin and Tambu learns that she is to portion a sleeping room with her cousin Nyasha. At the beginning of Chapter 5. Nyasha’s negative sentiment of her female parent becomes clear. They get in a battle at dinner.
The following forenoon at school. Tambu realizes that Nyasha is non liked by her schoolmates. They think she tries to be “white” and dispersed rumours about her sexual activity. Tambu becomes fluid in English before long and learns rapidly. She besides notices how stubborn Nyasha can be and how thankless she seems toward her parents. When Chido is old plenty. he is besides sent to Salisbury to go to this secondary school. which is populated largely by white male childs. It means that Tambu doesn’t see much of him any longer. Meanwhile. Nyasha is analyzing for her Form Two scrutinies ; she is working so difficult that she is losing weight quickly ; this is besides due to her eating upset. but Tambu does non understand that yet. Chido comes back from get oning school for Christmas and he. Tambu. and Nyasha attend a pupil Christmas party. Andy. one of Tambu’s friend Nyaradzo’s older brothers. walks place with them and corsets to chat up with Nyasha at the terminal of the private road. Babamukuru and Nyasha begin to hold a battle over what he sees as her whoreish behaviour. He attacks his girl violently and she fights back. while Maiguru pleads with him that if he must kill person to kill her alternatively. She and Chido pull Babamukuru off his girl and keep him so he can non kill her.
For a hebdomad after that. Babamukuru stays off from the house and Nyasha retreats into herself. She stops eating once more. so Tambu has lunch entirely with her aunt. Maiguru confesses the hurting she feels when she sees Nyasha and Babamukuru contending like that. Babamukuru. Maiguru. Nyasha. and Tambu return place to the Shona small town before Christmas. As they arrive at the homestead. Tambu looks at it with different eyes ; now she sees the sordidness she used to populate in. Lucia. Tambu’s youngest aunt on her mother’s side. is pregnant with the kid of Babamukuru’s lazy distant cousin. Takesure. Takesure already has two married womans who live elsewhere. so Babamukuru does non O.K. of him populating in the homestead. Netsai studies that. in add-on. Tambu’s female parent is pregnant and has been sick and unable to work for some clip. There are 24 people there entire for the vacation. and the adult females have ageless work to make to take attention of all the work forces and kids. Merely after New Years. Babamukuru summons a meeting to find the destiny of Takesure. while the adult females listen at the door.
A conflict ensues between Lucia andMa’Shingayi. who believe that Babamukuru is in the incorrect to demand that Lucia and Takesure leave. and Maiguru. who claims that since she was non born into this household. it is non her concern. and refuses to lodge up for Lucia to Babamukuru. Lucia overhears Takesure impeaching her of witchery to Babamukuru during the advocate meeting. so she storms in and tweaks his ear. supporting herself. She threatens to take her sister and go forth instantly. Babamukuru suggests that the family’s bad lucks are the consequence of Jeremiah and Ma’Shingayi ne’er being officially married and “living in wickedness. ” They must hold a nuptials. As readyings for the nuptials between Jeremiah and Ma’Shingayi ensue. Tambu becomes highly dying. When Babamukuru goes back to the mission with Maiguru and Nyasha. he leaves Tambu at the homestead to assist with all the work to be done. Ma’Shingayi comes to the mission infirmary in March to give birth. and Lucia comes every bit good to be with her sister. Much to everyone’s surprise. Babamukuru finds Lucia a occupation. cooking nutrient at the girls’ inn. Meanwhile. Nyasha. Maiguru. and Tambu help Ma’Shingayi program the nuptials.
The forenoon of the nuptials. Tambu is bound by depression to her bed and tells her uncle that she is regretful. but she does non desire to travel to the nuptials. Babamukuru is ferocious. of class. but finally the remainder of the household goes to the homestead and Tambu is allowed to remain at the mission. But she is punished with 15 ciliums and two hebdomads of maid’s work ; Anna is given a holiday. Tambu finds pleasance in her penalty. since it is the consequence of holding stood up for herself. Maiguru protests to Babamukuru that Tambu’s penalty is excessively rough. and eventually tells him that she is unhappy life at that place. Babamukuru reacts by stating her to travel wheresoever she wants. so. Nyasha predicts that her female parent won’t leave. but she is incorrect: Maiguru leaves by bus the following forenoon. Five yearss subsequently. Maiguru returns. much happier and refreshed. Just before Tambu’s Grade Seven scrutinies. nuns visit the mission school to enroll for a Catholic convent school called Sacred Heart.
Tambu is chosen and given a scholarship. but Nyasha thinks she will be brainwashed by the nuns and “fall for their fast ones. ” Babamukuru refuses to allow Tambu travel at foremost. but is persuaded by Maiguru. Babamukuru takes Tambu back to the homestead for Christmas. Since Maiguru has refused this twelvemonth to “spend another Christmas catering for a household of two twelve. ” Babamukuru must drive back and Forth between the mission and the homestead for hebdomads. merely sometimes conveying Nyasha and Maiguru with him. When Tambu discusses this development with her female parent. Ma’Shingayi becomes visibly depressed. She won’t eat or make any work ; her babe. Dambudzo. develops diarrhoea and she is unable to take attention of him. nor does she look moved by the thought that he might decease. Jeremiah sends for Lucia. who comes and forces her sister to acquire up. bathe. eat meat fret. and take attention of her babe. Back at the mission. Tambu’s old friends. Maidei and Jocelyn. are no longer sort to her. They clearly resent that she is go forthing them to travel to a “white” convent school. When it is clip to travel to Sacred Heart. Babamukuru. Maiguru. and Nyasha all drive Tambu to the convent.
The edifice and evidences are impossibly beautiful and good groomed. but it is clear that “the Africans” have poorer living quarters. segregated from the white pupils. As the semester progresses. Tambu throws herself into her surveies intently. She does non maintain in good touch with Nyasha. though Nyasha writes her many letters. One missive in peculiar is uncovering and emotional ; she does non acquire along with the misss at school or with her male parent. When Tambu returns to the mission. she notices a definite alteration in Nyasha. who had “grown skeletal. ” Tambu observes her shovel her dinner into her oral cavity. so retreat to the bathroom to throw up. While Babamukuru wants Tambu to return to the convent the really following twenty-four hours. she feels she can non go forth her cousin in this province. She is right ; that flushing. Nyasha flies into a self-destructive fury. shouting that. “They’ve at bay us” and wounding herself with anything she can acquire her custodies on.
Finally Babamukuru takes Nyasha to a head-shrinker. who recognizes that she needs to be put in a clinic for several hebdomads for observation and recovery. While she is at that place. Babamukuru takes Tambu back to the homestead. where Ma’Shingayi is inexorable that Nyasha is being killed by her “Englishness. ” and warns Tambu to watch out for it. Tambu tries to ostracize that intuition. but as the storyteller she acknowledges that it stayed with her and that “quietly. unobtrusively and highly fitfully. something in my head began to asseverate itself. to oppugn things and decline to be brainwashed. conveying me to this clip when I can put down this narrative. ”