Fiona Khan (1964 - ) is a Durban-based author and poet. She has published a number of children’s books and is interested in promoting a culture of reading in young readers. To this effect, she has worked with a number of primary schools as well as the eThekwini Municipal Libraries, receiving awards for these initiatives. Another passion is HIV/AIDS education and Khan has published a number of books dealing with this subject matter. Reeds of Wrath is her first novel, which explores the issue of the first Indian settlers in South Africa and the influence of the British Raj on slave labour.
Extract from The Rainmakers
The earth regurgitated anger and frustration by venting on the staidly inhabitants that trudged in the lull of earth’s repose. The emotions reflected in their complacence urged them to turn to faith and their ancestors. They needed to survive! Dust swirled its serpent head with each gust of wind and guttural carping tempered earths’ parched pate. Relentlessly sun usurped the shade from stratus and cumulus beating down on man, animal and plant. Bleached carcasses dotted the horizon against the knarled branches of Acacia. The heady silence of heat and hunger reached its crescendo.
They hung their heads in despair for the merciless and unforgiving torture of drought. The mirage of water crystals shimmered in their minds as they wished the rivers will start babbling and meandering through the land, the lowing of cattle and the thud-thud of their feet on the ground will bring the song from the children as they ran after them with bamboo sticks. Praying for earth’s cover by the mosaic of raindrops on muddy red soil and footprints of trudge and toil embedded in the slither and slide of mud, they missed the buzz and hum of annoying insects as they fell from exhaustion, and evaporated in the scorching intensity. Men hooded their eyes with their hands, as there was only one solution and that was, they needed a Rain Dance. The village chief rang out his call to all the villagers to gather at the arena. That night they would dance and dance until the rains came in torrents. It was the Rainmakers Dance to the great Queen of Rain, Modjaji.
The stage was set with drums, cymbals, tambourines, dried pumpkin seeds stuffed in dried and hollowed out calabash to resemble the sound of rain. The shawl of night swept over the land. Burning tows lit the arena as they all gathered in anticipation.
1995. I Am What I Am. Daan Retief Publishers.
1997. Allaczam. Via Africa.
2003. The Magic Calabash. Washesha Publication.
2003. The Grasshopper Who Could Not Jump. Washesha Publication.
2003. Hi! I am HIV Positive. Washesha Publication.
2004. EQ = IQ = U. Washesha Publication.
2005. Sticks and Stones. Umtapo Publishers.
2005. The Greatest Love. 2005. Umtapo Publishers.
2009. Reeds of Wrath. Washesha Publication.
2014. Beneath the Baobab Tree. Vivlia Publishers.