September 21, 2014

The First Daughter (by Goretti Kyomuhendo)

The First Daughter (by Goretti Kyomuhendo)

Set in western Uganda, The First Daughter was published in 1996. Written by Goretti Kyomuhendo, this passionately written story is based on the life of a young girl growing up in a rural African community during the post colonial era.

Kasemiire, who is usually referred to as Kaase by her mother and grandmother is brought up in a household characterized by poverty. Through extreme hard work and strain, her father Kyamanywa manages to send Kasemiire and her siblings to school. Though his friends often mock him about sending his daughters to school, Kyamanywa endures it for he has a belief that anyone who speaks and writes the Whiteman’s language cannot go hungry. He has hope in his daughter for she is a bright girl. To Kyamanywa’s friends, a woman’s work place is in the kitchen.

Although he provides for his children, Kyamanywa does not have a close relationship with them. Like many African fathers, he believes that this would be a sign of weakness. As he see it, the role of a father is to discipline and provide but not to play about with his children.

Though clever, Kasemiire gets pregnant in school much to the family’s disappointment. To Kyamanywa, it has all been a waste, and if that is the reward he has to get for educating his daughters, then he had better not do it any longer. “Whores” he often calls the girls.

As for Kasemire, things take a turn for the worse. To her disappointment, Steven, the father to her child, does not come to take her as planned.  The poor girl is forced to toil on her own to make a future for her innocent son, Remmy.
Along the way, she impresses a local politician, who offers to help her by taking her to work in the city. However, their friendship does not last long as the minister’s husband, Mr. Mutyaba attempts to rape her.
Kasemiire seeks refuge from the church, where with the help of a sympathetic nun, she goes back to school under their care.

It is at the university that she meets Jean Marie, one of her old classmates, who tells her of her old love Steven and how he intends to marry her once best friend Anita. It is a blow. Oh how she hates Steven! Her love for him turns to hatred.

When she meets Steven at a party, she goes wild, thinking he has come to manipulate her. But they do make up in the end.

The First Daughter is available on Amazon


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