Red God/Black God
Contemporary fiction for aged 12 plus
Shortlisted for the Bath Children’s Novel Award
That night I dream. Mother and I are walking to the market. We look for Aunt Sifa. We go to the man who makes the tyre shoes, but Aunt Sifa is not there. I ask the sandal maker if he has seen my aunt. I describe her as best I can. The man holds out a sandal. It is a pretty sandal he has chosen specially for me.
“Buy my sandal,” he says. “Buy my sandal or I will curse you.” I look at him. He is no longer the man who makes tyre sandals. He is Red God. His face is full of anger. His eyes flash at me. “I curse you,” he says.” I curse you and your mother.” He spits at Grace. “I curse the baby too. The big baby!”
Then Black God arrives. “Take back that curse,” he says. “These are not bad people. Look! They are a good, kind mother and her daughters. Take back the curse.”.
“I will not,” says Red God. The two gods begin to fight.
Becoming a teenager always involves challenges. But Neema seems to have more than her fair share. Her brother, Peter, whose only desire is to become a warrior, is where Neema longs to be – secondary school.
Their father’s plans for her own future are in keeping with Maasai tradition. Her mother’s mysterious illness, the reaction of her father’s other wives and Aunt Sifa’s strange message cause Neema to wonder whether the family has indeed been cursed by the vengeful Red God.
In standing against Maasai tradition, she risks the wrath of her father and community. With determination and the kindly Black God on her side, can Neema find a way to continue her education and break the Red God’s curse?
“I loved the Kenyan setting here and the premise to the novel was very exciting. Neema is a strong character who I think children will relate to and the author draws the reader immediately into her world. A very interesting and enjoyable read” – 2015 Bath Children’s Novel Award Judge, Sallyanne Sweeney