Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Legends to engender women’s rights

The Palm Tree Bandit

by

Nnedi Okorafor

Available online at http://www.strangehorizons.com/2000/20001211/palm_tree_bandit.shtml and in her short story collection Kabu Kabu

Continuing my reading of Okorafor’s short stories, I found this one flows much better, even thought it is a much earlier story written in 2000.

As a mother plaits her young daughter’s hair, she tells the folklore tale of her grandmother, Yaya, after whom her daughter is named. In days when woman were not permitted to climb the date palm tree, Yaya crept out from her marital bed in the middle of the night to climb up and carving a moon, the traditional sign of the female, into the tree. After doing this a few times and engendering the wrath of the menfolk and the quiet smiles of the women, as well as getting herself inebriated on the palm wine, Yaya finally gave up her nightly wanders and remained in her marital bed but the activities of the Palm Tree Bandit continued, spreading to other villages, becoming the stuff of legends.

ashramblings verdict 4* a well constructed story about women’s fight for their rights.

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