Sense in a Clear Bottle by Memuna Sillah
When Memuna is refused access to an Anglican Secondary school because of her name, she finds herself stuck in a British colonial legacy with no room for the ancient traditions in which she is being raised. But Sierra Leone is a complex society of Animists, Muslims, and Christians; of descendants of freed African slaves, of West Africans rescued from slave ships, and of indigenous peoples.
In Sense in a Clear Bottle, we journey through ancestral worship and Muslim feasts, through Thanksgiving services and rugged neighborhoods, to reveal corruption, coups, gender bias, the wretched condition of women, and undercover religious practices.
This is a story of a young girl’s conflict between home and school, between Christian teachers and Muslim parents, and between community and self.
The author remembers: I was three years old, sitting on a thin slab watching Granny bath my baby sister. “I’m putting this bitter juice in your mouth today,” she said, squeezing the chaff from kola nut she had chewed onto the baby’s tongue. “So that when you become an adult, you will know when to speak and when to keep quiet.” I struggled with writing this book. Even as I consider myself immune from Granny’s kola nut sentence, every now and then, it strangles me. A fish out of water dies. I am alive and I have decided it is time to speak.
Category: Memoir, Women’s Studies/AFRICA
Trim size: 5.5x8.5"
Page count: 312
Publication year: 2022