We Only Come Here to Struggle

We Only Come Here to Struggle

Stories from Berida's Life
Berida Ndambuki and Claire Cone Robertson
Distribution: World
Publication date: 03/22/2000
Format: Paperback 35 b&w photos, 4 figures, 3 maps, 1 bibliog., 1 index
ISBN: 978-0-253-21366-2
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Here is the life history of Berida Ndambuki, a Kenyan woman trader born in 1936, who speaks movingly of her experiences under the turbulences of late British colonialism and independence. A poverty survivor, Berida overcame patriarchal constraints to reclaim the rights to her labor, her body, and her spirit. She invokes a many-faceted picture of central Kenyan life in this compelling narrative.

Author Bio

Berida Ndambuki has been living and working in Nairobi for almost thirty years, while travelling back and forth to her home, Kathonzweni, in Ukambani, Kenya. Her work as a retailer of dried staples and dealer in other commodities has taken her into Uganda and Tanzania, as well as all over Kenya. She is married and has nine surviving grown children, as well as numerous grandchildren. She is a leader of women's groups in Kathonzweni and at Gikomba Market in Nairobi. This is her first literary endeavor.

Claire Robertson, Associate Professor in the departments of History and Women's Studies at the Ohio State University, has a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in African History, and has specialized in the study of African women, especially traders, for some twenty-five years. She has published numerous articles and four books including Sharing the Same Bowl: A Socioeconomic History of Women and Trade in Accra,Ghana
(1984), which won the 1985 Herskovits Prize from the African Studies Association, and Trouble Showed the Way: Women, Men, and Trade in the Nairobi Area, 1890-1990 (1997), during the research for which she became friends with Berida Ndambuki. Their collaboration produced this book.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Glossary and Currency
Chapter I "I Am Berida Ndambuki"
Chapter 2 "No woman can know what will happen to her in marriage" Marriage, Children and Survival
Chapter 3 "Now I was in business" Work: From Kathonzweni to Nairobi
Chapter 4 "The Akamba are a peaceloving people" Ethnicity, Religion and Politics
Chapter 5 "I ask myself, why did I have my children?" Life and Death
Postscript: Our Relations: On Friendship and Cross?cultural (Mis)Understanding

Indexfriends with Berida Ndambuki. Their collaboration produced this book.