OUSD > Urban Dreams > Language Arts > Extended Literature > Grade 12 > Ba


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So Long a Letter is a landmark book - a sensation in its own country and an education for outsiders. Mariama Ba, a longtime women's activist, set out to write a book that exposed the double standard between men and women in Africa. The result, So Long a Letter, eventually won the first Noma Award for Publishing in Africa. The book itself takes the form of a long letter written by a widow, Ramatoulaye, to her friend, over the mandatory forty-day mourning period following the death of a husband. Both women had married for love and had happy, productive marriages; both were educated, had work they loved and were intellectually alive. During their lives, both of these women's husbands chose to take a second wife - and each woman then made a different choice. Ramatoulaye decided to stay married, although it meant rarely seeing her husband and knowing that he was squandering money on a young girl, a friend of her own daughter. Ramatoulaye's friend divorced her husband and eventually left the country, settling in the United States. More... (© Amazon.com)

Author Biography:

Mariama Bâ was born in 1929 in Senegal. She was brought up by her grandparents in a traditional Moslem environment. Her father was Minister for Health at the time of the blueprint law. She obtained her teaching diploma in 1947, taught for twelve years then, for health reasons, asked to take up an appointment at the Senegalese Regional Inspectorate of Teaching. A divorced mother of nine children, she was married to the Member of Parliament, Obèye Diop. In 1980 she obtained the Noma Prize for her first novel. She died the following year, just before the publication of her second. (University of Western Australia; )

Websites about the book:

Curriculum Resources:

Websites about Mariama Ba:

The Urban Dreams Project
"A U.S. Department of Education Technology Innovation Challenge Grant"

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