Tag Archives: baobab

The Sleeping Baobab Tree

So, here it is – not launched yet but a pre copy. I love it!

Release date 2nd May.

The Sleeping Baobab Tree April 2

And here, with its older sibling!

SBT and TBH

2013, Baobabs and Bagamoyo

Hard to believe that 2013 has arrived – here’s hoping for a peaceful and kind year for the world – a hope in vain I know.

One of the things I am looking forward to this year is the publication of my next book, a sequel to The Butterfly Heart. This one is called The Sleeping Baobab Tree and in its honour here is (yet another) picture of this wondrous tree of life.

This picture is taken in Bagamoyo in Tanzania. The meaning of Bagamoyo in KiSwahili is ‘Lay Down your Heart’ and the reason it is called this is that it had become, by the late eighteenth Century, a major slave trading post. Arab slave traders would bring slaves in from the interior to Bagamoyo and from there they would be shipped to the slave markets and plantations of Zanzibar.  It was here that slaves would lay down their hearts to leave them behind as their bodies were transported away from home for the last time.

Slaves came from far and wide in the interior and it was calculated that for every one slave who reached Bagamoyo there were ten who died along the way.  For all of them who did reach the port this would have been their first view of the wide blue Indian Ocean – an ocean that would serve only to carry them in the holds of trading ships towards lives of brutality and hardship. Dr. Livingstone at the time said of the slave trade in East Africa (as it was then) that ‘to overdraw its evils is simply not possible’

This Baobab will have borne witness to that evil – it now looks out on a kinder place.

The Bagamoyo Baobab in full leaf

The Bagamoyo Baobab in full leaf

In 2009 on their album Bang the Drum, Mango Groove released a song that my brother had written  (with the help of my father who provided the Swahili) for use during a human rights campaign in South Africa. The song is called Bagamoyo and while unfortunately there is no video of it available, here are the lyrics.

BAGAMOYO  (Lay Down Your Heart)

Kurudi, Nyumbani
Nathulisa Umoyo

The day you left I was a stranger to you
The air was still the sky was grey
A pale moon led you through a starless night
A quiet sea took you away
Now time is not enough to do the healing
And words are not enough to heal your pain
But together maybe we can find a different space
A secret place where all our memories remain

So lay down your heart for me
Be strong and set me free
Walk away but still remain
Change it all but stay the same
And don’t forget a world within is a world apart
So lay down your heart

In dreams you’ll walk along a different path
The morning air will taste so sweet
You’ll lift your face towards blue African skies
You’ll feel her earth beneath your feet
As evening falls you’ll reach a different place
Where a warm December wind whispers your name
And as you look out from the shores of Bagamoyo
A million stars will know you came
Because like you they’ve come home again

So lay down your heart for me
Be strong and set me free
Walk away but still remain
Change it all but stay the same
And don’t forget a world within is a world apart
So lay down your heart

Kurudi, Nyumbani
Nathulisa Umoyo