Reading the Trauma of Internally Displaced Identities in Goretti Kyomuhendo’s Waiting

DOI: 10.1080/23277408.2017.1393251
Author(s): Nick Mdika TemboDepartment of English Studies, Stellenbosch University, South Africa and the Department of English, Malawi


One of the effects of violent conflicts in East Africa is that millions of people have either been internally displaced or forced to leave their homes and set up other homes elsewhere. In this article I focus on Goretti Kyomuhendo’s novel, Waiting: A Novel of Uganda at War, with reference to how the author locates the anguish and trauma of her local community’s search for belonging and for a sense of self-worth during the last months of the 1979 civil war in Uganda when the Uganda National Liberation Army and the Tanzanian People’s Defence Force combined to oust Uganda’s dictator-ruler, Idi Amin. I propose that Waiting: A Novel of Uganda at War is a fictional narrative that imagines the author’s and her community’s lived reality, and that Kyomuhendo utilises waiting as a narrational trope in a clear attempt to come to grips with the lingering traumatic memories that engulf the local inhabitants of Hoima as they await the advancing allied forces to ‘liberate’ them from Idi Amin’s rampaging soldiers.

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