Title: Taming My Elephant
Author: Tshiwa Trudie Amulungu
Publisher: University of Namibia Press
Windhoek, Namibia 2016
ISBN 9789991642185 / ISBN 978-99916-42-18-5
Softcover, 14 x 21 cm, 304 pages, some b/w photos
Metaphorically, in Oshiwambo, my mother tongue, the elephant is likened to the most challenging situation that can face humanity. The Aawambo believe that if an elephant shows up, everything else, irrespective of its nature and urgency, is put aside. Dealing with and getting rid of the elephant becomes priority number one. For this reason, when elder people plan an activity for the following morning, their concluding sentence is always as follows 'Ongula osho tatu ningi ngele uusiku inawu vala ondjamba or We will do as agreed if the night does not give birth to an elephant.' If the night happens to have given birth to an elephant, all planned activities are put on hold and the villagers immediately join forces to get rid of the elephant. In my case, since I was alone and the elephant showed up so many times, I had no choice but to tame it.
"I now turn to my new daughter-in-law. From a humble place in Owambo, she went to Zambia, then to France and back to Namibia with a French Masters". These were the exact words of my father-in-law as part of his speech at my wedding when I married his son in December 1990. My father-in-law has captured the exact scope of the landmarks of the route I, and so many others, had to travel to arrive where we are today. It has been an unusual route, full of challenges but also full of pleasant surprises.
Why did I decide to write this book? Well, I started feeling awkward being with people who did not know that much about me. I know that this sentiment may be hard to believe, but, for me, the awkwardness only intensified when it came to those I lived with.
A word about the title of the book
A word about Namibia
My world opens up
Exile becomes a normal way of life
Married just for a few months
My life gains new meaning
Arrival of a white comrade
Namibia gains independence
Taming my elephant Many thanks
The liberation struggle and life in exile 1958-1990
Glossary of Oshiwambo terms