Available on JSTOR at: doi.org/10.2307/3334613

Abstract

Among the early successful volumes in the East African Publishing House's Modern African Library was a collection of short stories, “Potent Ash”, by two promising Kenyan writers Leonard Kibera and Samuel Kahiga. Mr. Kibera is now in California studying comparative literature at Berkeley after having finished his M.A. in creative writing at Stanford University. He has tried his hand very successfully at playwriting, winning a BBC prize, and has completed a novel, “Voices in the Dark”. We were pleased to receive one of the recent short stories of this accomplished writer for publication in “African Arts”. “The Spider's Web” is a perceptive and sensitive study of that interregnum between white rule and the confidence of new independence. It was hoped that the colonial “world of distrust and hate” would be replaced by a world of confidence and happiness. Instead, dismayingly, life “had become crooked and subtle.” Ngotho wrestles with this painful vision from the ominous nightmares that destroy his sleep to the symbolic disaster when the convolutions of the spider's web bring him to contemplation of the dying tree that requires him to ask “Just what had gone wrong with the gods?” It is a painful and revealing story that indicates a considerable new talent.