Bark, Bite, Kisses

Author: Ijangolet S Ogwang

That’s all of us, baby, we are made of bark, bite and kisses. The women of this family we are lovers and fighters by circumstance.

What does it mean to love a nation and a person? What do you do when it feels like it they have not kept their promises? A better question might be, what can you do?

In the 1960s, Uganda is on the brink of independence. Namazzi is born into politics. Uganda is her first love, her life offered at the altar of Uganda’s independence, an independence that eventually comes but feels like a shadow of all it was meant to be. The country becomes a war zone overnight and, in the shadows, Namazzi begins to help women escape the turmoil that has befallen the Pearl of Africa.

Kera is born in the 180s into a peaceful Uganda. In the corridors of the University of Makerere she meets Habimana. He is a man of contemplation and she is a woman of language. Yet despite their differences they find a nation of their own making in one another, both disappointed by their countries and their empty promises. But how do you love someone when you know time is not on your side?

Habimana will eventually move to South Africa with their daughter Sinai, who grows up to be an architect who desires more meaning from life in the city. She interrogates the nation and the spaces people live in, filled with the anxiety of a life that needs to be in constant movement. Maru, a friend, changes this, until their love implodes.

Through the formation of a nation state and themes of love and loss, the author explores the lives of three generations of Kironde women, as they love each other, people, and places through space and time. But although the gift of premonitions in their lineage are shared, their responses to the future hurtling towards them could not be more different.

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