Critical Context

Head’s novels When Rain Clouds Gather (1969) and A Question of Power (1973) share with Maru a setting in Botswana, where Head herself was a primary-school teacher. All three novels deal with the efforts of the individual to find a place for himself or herself in the cultural milieu. Makhaya, the protagonist in When Rain Clouds Gather, and Elizabeth, in A Question of Power, are both in Botswana seeking refuge from South African apartheid. They, like Margaret, are alienated by the color of their skin. For all three, any sense of belonging, and indeed survival itself, depends on meshing their lives with the lives of those about them. The three novels together form a cohesive statement by Head about the past and future of Africa.

Head’s works also include a compilation of oral African folktales, The Collector of Treasures and Other Botswana Village Tales (1977), and A Bewitched Crossroad: An African Saga (1984).