I Will Not Fail,
a book by Madinah Kisubi is, often times, heart rending, sad, hilarious, and brutal.
In the book, Namukose, a little girl, grows up in a rural village, mired in the vices of male chauvinism and deprivation of anything modern. The dominant forces in her society are averse to educating the girl child, whom is seen as only good at serving her society.
Basule is symbolic of such chauvinism and repression of the girl child’s rights. He draws the comparison of educating a girl child to that of watering a friend’s garden. As an elder and opinion leader in this society, his narrow views highlight the role that society can play, as a barrier or champion for the rights of children, regardless of their gender. Ironically, Basule’s remarks are made in the wake of the universal primary education (free education), which requires all children of school going age to attend school.
Against retrogressive mindsets that reduce the girl child into a mere product, Namukose gets the opportunity to attend school. An ambitious child, she believes she can scale the heights of success in the academic and social realms. The free primary education program provided by the state is a blessing that accords her an opportunity to prove that she can excel. She is the best student in the primary leaving examination. Later, she uses the knowledge gained at school to enlighten her mother on basic hygienic aspects like washing hands with soap after latrine usage. She also teaches her mother how to read.
Namukose is the beacon of hope for any girl in the developing world. Her triumph over the numerous setbacks in a male dominated society symbolises the triumph of the girl child against retrogressive cultures in similar settings.
I Will Not Fail is a moving chronicle of the girls’ inner resilience and central role in the welfare of humanity. It does not only present the tribulations and cultural constraints the girl child in Africa confronts, but also unveils the opportunities for the girl, who stands strong and steadfast in her aspirations.