When Rain Clouds Gather
Rural Botswana is the backdrop for When Rain Clouds Gather, the first novel published by one of Africa’s leading woman writers in English, Bessie Head (1937–1986). Inspired by her own traumatic life experiences as an outcast in Apartheid South African society and as a refugee living at the Bamangwato Development Association Farm in Botswana, Head’s tough and telling classic work is set in the poverty-stricken village of Golema Mmidi, a haven to exiles. A South African political refugee and an Englishman join forces to revolutionize the villagers’ traditional farming methods, but their task is fraught with hazards as the pressures of tradition, opposition from the local chief, and the unrelenting climate threaten to divide and devastate the fragile community.

Head’s layered, compelling story confronts the complexities of such topics as social and political change, conflict between science and traditional ways, tribalism, the role of traditional African chiefs, religion, race relations, and male–female relations.
Reviews
“I am grateful that Waveland has provided reliable editions of Bessie Head’s works, especially When Rain Clouds Gather. The notes and glossary are helpful to first-time readers. The overall quality and price of these editions make them an excellent choice for my courses.” — Melisa Klimaszewski, Drake University