"We Only Come Here to Struggle": Stories from Berida's Life

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Indiana University Press, 2000 - Biography & Autobiography - 138 pages
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Here is the life history of Berida Ndambuki, a Kenyan woman trader born in 1936, who speaks movingly of her experiences under the turbulences of late British colonialism and independence. A poverty survivor, Berida overcame patriarchal constraints to reclaim the rights to her labor, her body, and her spirit. She invokes a many-faceted picture of central Kenyan life in this compelling narrative.

 

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Contents

Childhood Family and Initiation
1
The Family of Berida Ndambuki
2
Akamba kyondo baskets
8
Harambee 1997
14
Scenes from Kathonzweni 1997
27
Now I was in business
56
Womens farm implements 1920s
57
Scenes from Gikomba 1988
67
Womens Groups
79
The Akamba are a peaceloving people
87
1999
115
BIBLIOGRAPHY
137
Copyright

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About the author (2000)

Berida Ndambuki has been living and working in Nairobi for almost thirty years, while travelling back and forth to her home, Kathonzweni, in Ukambani, Kenya. Her work as a retailer of dried staples and dealer in other commodities has taken her into Uganda and Tanzania, as well as all over Kenya. She is married and has nine surviving grown children, as well as numerous grandchildren. She is a leader of women's groups in Kathonzweni and at Gikomba Market in Nairobi. This is her first literary endeavor.

Claire Robertson, Associate Professor in the departments of History and Women's Studies at the Ohio State University, has a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in African History, and has specialized in the study of African women, especially traders, for some twenty-five years. She has published numerous articles and four books including Sharing the Same Bowl: A Socioeconomic History of Women and Trade in Accra,Ghana
(1984), which won the 1985 Herskovits Prize from the African Studies Association, and Trouble Showed the Way: Women, Men, and Trade in the Nairobi Area, 1890-1990 (1997), during the research for which she became friends with Berida Ndambuki. Their collaboration produced this book.

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