Roots: The Saga of an American Family Chapter 29 Summary

Alex Haley

Chapter 29 Summary

As Kunta's mother, it is Binta's honor to serve food to her son (now a young man) in his own hut every day. Unfortunately, Binta grates on Kunta's nerves. She takes notice of every new thing that he has acquired, and turns her nose up at everything that she hasn't made for Kunta himself. Binta is especially hurt to see a basket made by a young widow and a new tunic made by someone else that is a good trade. Upon seeing something new in Kunta's hut, Binta races back to the well to gossip with the other wives. Without saying a word about the situation, Kunta decides to deal with the matter himself because he couldn't ask "Omoro's advice on how to make Binta respect her son the same as she did her husband." Unfortunately, the way Kunta deals with the situation is by avoiding his mother's hut entirely.

It is about this time that three young men pass by the village of Juffure. They are travelers, although not much older than Kunta, going a few days farther in order to find an ancient, dying baobab tree near which it is good to pan for gold. Kunta is intrigued by the trip, but declines their offer to go with them at first. They draw good directions in the dust for Kunta, should he change his mind. 

As Kunta Kinte walks sadly back to his hut, he realizes that he could get some of his friends to take over his duties for a few days. Most importantly, Kunta could ask his younger brother Lamin to go along, just as Omoro took Kunta when he was young! What an important trip for Lamin this would be! Having never done this before, Kunta thinks long and hard on how to ask Omoro. Kunta adopts his father's simple and direct method of speech as he first praises Lamin's manner and then simply says, "I've been thinking that Lamin might enjoy the trip." Omoro simply replies, "For a boy to travel is good."

The decision is made. Omoro tells Binta. Binta then wails loudly and clings to Suwadu and Madi. She claims that these two boys will be her only two left because Lamin and Kunta will be stolen away by the white man. Omoro, taking no further notice of Binta, tells Kunta a bit about what he will encounter as he goes along the trail. By this time, other children from Juffure run to Lamin (who is herding Kunta's goats) and tell him the news. 

Lamin, breathless and speechless, comes bounding into Kunta's hut. The rush of brotherly love flowing between Lamin and Kunta cannot be denied.