I am Tausi, a book published in 2009 by Author House UK Ltd, is a novella that lays out the differences between two different types of people or cultures as experienced by a young African woman.
The young woman is called Tausi (Tausi is a Swahili word meaning peacock- maybe the name is meant to describe who this young woman is or becomes after she’s been exposed to different cultures). Tausi was born and grew up in Tanzania, where certain traditions and taboos and rules have been set and are followed by most people; a culture she has come to accept. But what happens when she travels abroad to the Western world? She gets a “cultural shock” so to say. What is /was revered back home is not considered so important in this new world she has come to. The very much loved ample womanly curves back home are the opposite of what people love here; she can’t understand why dark skinned women bleach their skins while the whites wish for a darker skin; neither can she understand why one must first make an appointment to visit a friend or a relation (although she is quick to point out what an inconvenience it is/used to be to the host family who found themselves having to share what little they had with these unexpected guests!) or why you must pay for the dinner you have been invited to and so on.
This is what the book is about – not a narrative per say but a novella that shares the young woman’s attitude towards the norms and lifestyles of two different cultures, namely African and European. Nothing new there but the reader will enjoy the author’s humor in describing her perplexity as she tries to understand the two cultures and make her own choices about what is right or wrong. If the author’s background is put into consideration, then, one can conclude that she was writing about her own experiences.
The highlight of this book is that unlike most people, Tausi doesn’t just sit back and judge people’s ways, she learns to understand and respect different cultures. Where as she left her home country biased, she returns home more open minded to embrace strange norms, something that has made her proud of her own culture. She concludes by saying: “Like the many beautiful colors of a peacock, culture is enriching, if one is able to respect what may not seem a norm… a rich soul will pick what is best of both different worlds to become an enlightened person, who is able to live with dignity in a multicultural society”. A great lesson to all mankind!
Gloria D. Gonsalves was born and raised in Tanzania. She later migrated to Europe and is currently living in Bonn, Germany. Her other published works include Emotional Turmoil, Mahaba Prints of My Heart and Diamonds forever.