By accepting women, "all Wakamba" (370), into his imagined Paradise, he not only deconstructs canonical representations of the frontier as a predominantly (white) male arena but also gives new visibility to (black) women, who earlier had been excluded from his fictional world.
Hemingway's "affaire" with the young Wakamba woman allows him to gain a first-hand knowledge of her tribe and their daily problems, which eventually leads him, for example, to buy "medicine for shamba" (333).
it was my honor once again to hunt with two more great Wakamba
hunters, Makanyanga and Sengi.
In times of distress and hardship, the Wakamba, the ethnic group of the region, did not wait on policy makers and governmental officials; instead, it was clear that the poor were left on their own to address issues related to rain unpredictability and instability.
In the case of the Wakamba, the rain making dance called Kilumi is a healing rite designed to restore environmental balance through spiritual blessings, movement, offering, and prayers.
Following his grandmother's wisdom, he wants to be everything: a good husband in the monogamous tradition, a polygamous Wakamba
, a barefoot hunting Masai, a mosquito-boot-shod white law-enforcer, a good though absent father to unborn children, and many other contradictory things.
I would have preferred for Pop to be my father and my mother either a Somali or Wakamba
More importantly, it mentions Ernest's shaved head, his spear hunting, his clothes dyed Masai pink ochre, his desire to pierce his ears (significantly muted by Patrick's editing of True at First Light), his desire to be Wakamba
, and his desire to have tribal marks or black skin (again, muted by Patrick s editing).
The Masai or the Wakamba
and the various tribal entities variously exude menace and influence, and, as with Hemingway's cast of natives in Green Hills of Africa, each here is uniquely influential and closely defined.
Although it's clear that African customs would allow Hemingway to take a second wife--were he actually a member of the Wakamba
tribe, which I'll get to in a moment--his American conscience will not allow him to love two women without feeling guilt: "I was too damned lucky to be married to somebody as lovely as Mary and I would straighten things out at the Shamba [where Debba lives] and try to be a really good husband" (149).
One of the remarkable things in this chapter is its treatment of what Hemingway's fourth wife, Mary, called the "earring crisis": the moment in the 1950s When Hemingway developed an overwhelming desire to pierce his ears, in order to express his sense of kinship with the Wakamba
people whom he'd recently left behind in Africa.
On his last trip to Africa, Hemingway not only appears to have had a dalliance with a Wakamba
girl, Debba - whom he called his "fiancee" and compared to Nick Adam's boyhood love, Prudy - he tried, in Carlos Baker's words, "to go native" himself, shaving his head "to the scalp, like a Masai girl's," dying his clothes various shades of Masai rusty pink ochre, and taking up spear hunting (Baker, Life 517; Mary Hemingway 367).