Comparisons between “Handful of Dates” and “Snapshots of a wedding” Essay

The two stories “Handful of Dates” and “Snapshots of a wedding” are both taken from the book African Short Stories by Heinemann. The first story was written Tayeb Salih in Arabic and was translated to English by Denys Johnson-Davis, while Bessie Head wrote the second story. The first story was set in Sudan, towards the northern part of Africa and the second story was set in South Africa. The author of the first story is form Sudan while the author of the second story is from South Africa.

The first story “Handful of Dates” is about a young boy and his grandfather and the boy’s behaviour as well and most people like the boy very much because he is clever and very noble to people and his grandfather. He doesn’t live with his father but he only lives with grandfather. The boy likes to go to the mosque to learn Koran. He also likes to go to the river to swim at his free time.

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The second story is about Neo, Kegoletile and Mathata. Neo is an educated girl, she finished her O’levels and she is very proud because she is educated. She is rude and she lack etiquette. She doesn’t respect people older than her. Her family members hate her and everyone complains to each other in the family. Kegoletile is an educated man as well as Neo but he’s not as proud as Neo and he is rich. Mathata is an uneducated girl but she respects people and everyone likes her because she is very respectful and kind unlike Neo.

Mathata greets everyone she sees not in case of Neo, she hardly greets people. Kegoletile wants to marry Neo because she is educated. He believes an educated man like him can’t marry a girl like Mathata because she is an illiterate. Mathata got pregnant for Kegoletile and she had the baby and he promised her that he will take good care of the child for her but he didn’t marry her. Both their parents agreed that Kegoletile would give her R10.00 a month until the child is 20 years old. He had already proposed to Neo.

In the first story, which is set in Sudan, is Muslim country and they do lots of agriculture, they like harvesting and planting and Sudan is a hot part of Africa in terms of their weather. In the second country, which is set in South Africa, is a Christian country. The Christians are more than Muslim and the weather is a little cold. One day Neo went to her aunt’s house and she just said “will you make me some tea” then her aunty said quietly “You may not know it, my girl but you are hated by everyone around here.

The debate we are having is whether a nice young man like Kegoletile should marry bad mannered rubbish like you. He would be far better off if he married a girl like Mathata who, though uneducated, still treats people with respect” Then Neo ran off and cried while she left her aunt’s house and then she changed and started treating Kegoletile like her husband and now greets people and treats them the way she was supposed to like Mathata.

The young boy in the first story has freedom with his grandfather and Neo in the second story has freedom but more than the young boy because she is very much older than him.

The first story is narrated in the 1st person and the second person is narrated in the 3rd person. I prefer Mathata to Neo, as for the young boy, he’s a good Muslim. He reads his Koran and goes to mosque always but I dislike Neo because she is rude and disrespectful even though she is educated. The stories were interesting.


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