Maru Quotes

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Maru by Bessie Head
Front Cover of Bessie Head’s Maru
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Maru Quote 1 (Part 1 of Maru by Bessie Head):

“The rains were so late that year. But throughout that hot, dry summer those black storm clouds clung in thick folds of brooding darkness along the low horizon. There seemed to be a secret in their activity, because each evening they broke the long, sullen silence of the day, and sent soft rumbles of thunder and flickering slicks of lightning across the empty sky.”  


Maru Quote 2 (Part 1 of Maru by Bessie Head):

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“And if the white man thought that Asians were a low, filthy nation, Asians could still smile with relief – at least, they were not Africans. And if the white man thought Africans were a low, filthy nation, Africans in Southern Africa could still smile – at least, they were not Bushmen.”


Maru Quote 3 (Part 1 of Maru by Bessie Head):

“It is preferable to change the world on the basis of love of mankind. But if that quality be too rare, then common sense seems the next best thing.”


Maru Quote 4 (Part 1 of Maru by Bessie Head):

“Those who spat at what they thought was inferior were the ‘low filthy people’ of the earth, because decent people cannot behave that way.”


Maru Quote 5 (Part 1 of Maru by Bessie Head):

“Something they liked as Africans to pretend themselves incapable of was being exposed as oppressive and prejudiced. They always knew it was there but no oppressor believes in his oppression. He always says he treats his slaves nicely.”


Maru Quote 6 (Part 1 of Maru by Bessie Head):

“Prejudice is like the old skin of a snake. It has to be removed bit by bit.”


Maru Quote 7 (Part 1 of Maru by Bessie Head):

“He knew from his own knowledge of himself that true purpose and direction are creative.”


Maru Quote 8 (Part 1 of Maru by Bessie Head):

“It is preferable to change the world on the basis of love of mankind. But if that quality be rare, then common sense seems the next best thing.”


Maru Quote 9 (Part 1 of Maru by Bessie Head):

“Children learnt it from their parents. Their parents spat on the ground as a member of a filthy, low nation passed by. Children went a little further. They spat on you. They pinched you.”


Maru by Bessie Head
Front Cover of Bessie Head’s Maru

Maru Quote 10 (Part 2 of Maru by Bessie Head):

“She was not a part of it and belonged nowhere. In fact, so quiet and insignificant were her movements that the people of Dilepe village almost forgot that there was such a thing as a Masarwa teacher.”


Maru Quote 11 (Part 2 of Maru by Bessie Head):

“Seemed a burden she would carry for the rest of her life because her heart remained stubbornly fixed on him as though no other man in the world existed.”


Maru Quote 12 (Part 2 of Maru by Bessie Head):

“I am ashamed to steal all these pictures,” she said. “But I have to. They are so beautiful.”


Maru Quote 13 (Part 2 of Maru by Bessie Head):

“Here is your payment, you rogue and thief,” she said. “How do you think I feel, always stealing for you?”


Quote 14:

“I want my pictures,” she said softly. “You will get them when I have no more need of them,”


Quote 15 (Part 2 of Maru by Bessie Head):

“They had said of the Masarwa what every white man had said of every black man: “They can’t think for themselves. They don’t know anything.” The matter never rested there. The stronger man caught hold of the weaker man and made a circus animal out of him, reducing him to the state of misery and subjection and non-humanity.”


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