Kyomuhendo, Goretti 1965–
Kyomuhendo, Goretti 1965–
Born 1965, in Hoima, Uganda. Education: University of KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa), M.A.
Home— Kampala, Uganda.
FEMWRITE, Ugandan Women Writers' Association, Kampala, Uganda, founding member and coordinator.
Uganda National Book Trust award, 1999, for Secrets No More; International Writing Program fellowship, University of Iowa.
The First Daughter(novel), Fountain Publishers (Kampala, Uganda), 1997.
Different Worlds(juvenile), 1998.
Secrets No More(novel), FEMRITE Publications (Kampala, Uganda), 1999.
Whispers from Vera, Monitor Publications (Kampala, Uganda), 2002.
Author of short stories; columnist for the Monitor and Crusader.
Goretti Kyomuhendo is a freelance writer who has written fiction for both adults and children. Kyomuhendo was the first female Ugandan writer to received an invitation to attend the University of Iowa's International Writing Program. As program coordinator for FEMRITE, the publishing arm of the Ugandan Women Writers' Association, she promotes writing by Ugandan women.
Kyomuhendo's debut novel,The First Daughter, is the story of Kaasemiire, a young woman of fifteen who conceives a child but is not supported by the child's father and is disowned by her own father. Her salvation lies in acquiring an education. Kyomuhendo's second novel is her award-winning Secrets No More, set during the Tutsi genocide in Rwanda. She accurately portrays the sexual violence experienced by the women as well as female pleasure with sex, two subjects seldom seen in African writing.
Waiting, Kyomuhendo's first book to be published in the United States, is narrated by twelve-year-old Alinda, who lives in Uganda during the last year of the reign of dictator Idi Amin. Through this young and innocent child, Kyomuhendo reveals the struggles of women in a small village, especially as they experience life from childhood through motherhood, under Amin's regime. Alinda witnesses the murders and rapes as well as her father's courage in defending his family with only a spear against the rifles of the soldiers. Kaaka, her grandmother, challenges the armed military, while her mother, about to give birth, does not have the strength to flee and hide.
The baby is born, but Alinda's mother dies and the old midwife is killed, leaving the girl to cut the cord and care for the infant. Liberation soldiers who arrive at the village are only slightly older than Alinda, and Alinda's friend Jungu becomes attracted to one of them. Alinda's brother Tendo is conflicted over his obligations to his family and his desire to join the liberation army. When the soldiers leave, Tendo and Jungu go after them.
Library Journal reviewer Shalini Miskelly concluded that "the writing does not feel either syrupy or pedantic but instead profoundly realistic." A Kirkus Reviews contributor wrote of Waiting: "The author's matter-off-act style is perfectly suited to Alinda's naïve simplicity, in sharp counterpoint to the horrors on the edge of the narrative." In reviewing the novel in Booklist, Ray Olson wrote that the story is "told with a verbal chastity reflecting both tension and dawning adult consciousness."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 15, 2007, Ray Olson, review of Waiting, p. 22.
Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2007, review of Waiting.
Library Journal, May 15, 2007, Shalini Miskelly, review of Waiting, p. 81.
Culturebase.net,http://www.culturebase.net/ (November 18, 2007), author profile.