Mid Morning Moon

Gurnah, Abdulrazak S (2011) Mid Morning Moon. Wasafiri, 26 (2). pp. 25-29. ISSN 0269-0055. (doi:https://doi.org/10.1080/02690055.2011.557532) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02690055.2011.557532

Abstract

I first heard about the map from one of my teachers. It was not the kind of information he was supposed to be giving us, but I think he was bored with what he had to do and sometimes drifted away to unexpected topics. He was not our proper teacher, although he was a teacher in a primary school in the town and had a reputation for being learned. His name was Maalim Hassan Abdalla. He had recently moved next door to us and lived in the downstairs rooms he rented from our neighbours, Uncle Abdulrahman and Bi Fatma. We called them uncle and aunt out of respect. They had no children and had the two upper storeys of the house, so did not need the ground floor. Uncle Abdulrahman was a teacher too, but a much grander one. He taught at the secondary school, where all the teaching was done in English, and had studied at Makerere University College, Kampala. At the time, almost all teachers in the secondary school were Europeans, and it gave Uncle Abdulrahman a kind of glamour that he had rubbed shoulders with these legendary ones. He and Maalim Hassan must have known each other from before, or perhaps had even studied together when they were younger.

Item Type: Article
Additional information: The idea for this story began with Fra Mauro’s Mappa Mundi (1448-53), one of the earliest maps to imagine the Indian Ocean as open waters rather than closed in by a southern land-mass. Research revealed that there were many remarkable matters concerning the map, its construction, its history and the detailed information it contained. Fra Mauro was a Venetian monk on the island of Murano in the Venice Lagoon who studied a variety of Arab, Indian and European sources, and without stirring from there, constructed a map of the world. He added various commentaries and reports in the tiny banners that covered the empty spaces on the map. One of the entries near the tip of Mauro’s Africa is an account of an expedition which apparently took place 20 or 30 years before the making of the map: an Arab ship heading south was driven westward by a storm for forty days, and after the storm subsided, it took seventy days for the ship to return. The implication is that they were blown into the southern Atlantic and then made their way back. The Indian Ocean was not a closed sea, and in Mauro’s representation it was thoroughly knowable and interlinked, a world connected. That little report was the beginning of the journey the story describes. The story represents the kind of person who would know such things in a place that did not value knowledge like that, and the kind of loneliness that would constitute. This is the figure of the teacher in the story, truculent, desperate and misunderstood, whose curiosity and learning are ascribed to the tragedies of his early life, and over whom there hangs a suspicion of sexual dishonour.; place: Wasafiri. Volume 26, issue 2; Special Issue: Indian Oceans
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PE English
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of English > Centre for Colonial and Postcolonial Research
Depositing User: Stewart Brownrigg
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2014 00:05 UTC
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2016 15:12 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/40592 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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