Analysis of "Hawa the Bus Driver" Notes

Analysis of "Hawa the Bus Driver" Notes


Richard S. Mabala is a Tanzanian writer who has authored several books. Among of them is Hawa the Bus Driver and Mabala the Farmer, the famous short stories that are the among the Class Readers studied in Form One and Form Two in Tanzanian Secondary Schools. These two short stories are the best works for the Children Literature that’s why they are taught in Lower Secondary School Classes. 


Hawa the Bus Driver’ is short story about one brave woman called Hawa. This woman is the driver and she lives in the society where many people consider driving as men’s job. However, she becomes a very famous bus driver and people start calling her ‘Hawa the Bus Driver’ because of her driving skills, bravery and confidence.

This short story is the collection of six (6) chapters that all narrate the life of Hawa, her work, and her family and friends.



1. Brainstorming (Before Reading). Before reading a Class Reader, the teacher should guide students to use and discuss title, cover, blurb and other book illustrations to predict what a book will be about.

2. Reading. The students should also be guided to read a part of the Class Reader or the whole Class reader and answer the questions (obviously guiding questions given by the teacher) on various aspects like chapter’s events, characters, settings, and message. They should do this task in groups or pairs. 

3. Writing a book report (After Reading). The students are also guided by the teacher to write a book report. In their level, it is just a simple book report in which they can include only important details of the book they have read. Most commonly, the book report they should write should include the following aspects:

  1. Title
  2. What is the story about?
  3. The Setting of the story
  4. The characters of the story (Main and minor characters)
  5. Events of the story (general or for each chapter)
  6. The message of the story
  7. The lesson of the story
  8. How does the story ends?


The short story is set in Dar es Salaam, Ubungo, Manzese, Urafiki Textile Mill, Mbezi, Hospital, Police Station and other places in Dar es Salaam.


The short story has several characters like:

  1. Hawa Ibrahim, Hawa the Bus Driver
  2. Selemani, Hawa’s husband
  3. Hassan &Saada, their children
  4. Meshack, Hawa’s bus conductor
  5. Chausiku, George, Passengers, The Drivers, and others


The writer has used a very simple language that suits the level of Form One and Form Two Students. Although in some incidents the writer uses Swahili words like ‘Ugali’ on page 26, the kind of language used is generally simple.

Figures of Speech

As usual, Form One and Form Two Students are only introduced to the few examples of figures of speech, and in this story, the following figures of speech can be identified:


These are statements that are considered wise and they teach the truth or a moral lesson.

“Happy home makes good workers” (page 25)


These are expressions or phrases that are not interpreted by using mere individual words. They interpreted as a group of words.

“Now it is your turn” (page 14), meaning ‘now it is your time’.

“It is not your business” (page 18), meaning ‘it not your job/work/duty’

“Proud and big-headed” (page 20), meaning that someone feels proud and arrogant.


This is the figure of speech that compares two things by using conjunctions such as, ‘like’ and ‘as’.

“Jealousy is like a sand in your eyes. It stops you seeing things clearly” (page 26)


This is the figure of speech that makes inanimate objects act like human beings.

“Jealousy is like a sand in your eyes. It stops you seeing things clearly” (page 26) – Jealousy is a noun and here it is given the human ability of stopping or preventing something.


This is the situation of making things look bigger than they really are.

“He found himself in the Manzese mud” (page 1)



Hawa lives with her husband and her family. She works as City Bus Driver, although some people do not like this Hawa’s job because they consider it as men’s job. Hawa is a strong woman. One day during her usual work day, one man tries to steal her bad but he found himself in the Manzese mud. People who like Hawa say people should not fight with her because they can find themselves embarrassed. She can always beat anyone because she is strong. 

Some people say she is destroying African culture because she is doing men’s job.  They say she should cook and sell food like Mama Ntilies or sew clothes.

Some men call Selemani, her husband, a stupid man because he allows his wife to be a driver. 

Just like his wife, Selemani ignores those who hate the work of Hawa, his wife.

At school, some children laugh Hawa’s children because their mother is a bus driver. When they come back home, Hawa tells them not to be angry argue with the fool.

The other drivers are sometimes unhappy with Hawa and they even refuse to talk to Hawa.

One day, Hawa helped to rescue the runaway bus from causing accident at Ubungo. The careless driver had left the bus, and unfortunately the bus started moving itself. People panicked. But Hawa jumped into the bus and stopped it although it was very hard. Hawa was praised by people and they sang a song for her. After that bravery, she was even accepted by her fellow drivers. In the song, people use words like; lioness, bull, red bull, and roar to praise Hawa. 


  • Hawa Ibrahim
  • She is the main character of the story.
  • She is a very strong woman, tall and tough.
  • She weighs 82 kilos.
  • She is also called Hawa Ibrahim or Mama Hassan
  • She is a bus driver.


  • He is Hawa’s husband.
  • He is a worker at the Urafiki Textile Mill where he a machine operator.
  • He is tall and strong like Hawa.


Family. Hawa has a family: her husband and two children. 

Hardwork. Hawa works hard as a bus driver and a mother. 

Gender stereotyping. some people do not like this Hawa’s job because they consider it as men’s job.

Theft. One man tries to steal from Hawa but Hawa stops him. 

African culture. People think that Hawa is destroying African culture because she is doing men’s job. 

Alienation. The other drivers are sometimes unhappy with Hawa and they even refuse to talk to Hawa.


  • Happy family is a source of success. 
  • Women can do any job just like men. 
  • We should stop practising unproductive African culture. 
  • Theft is not a good behaviour. 
  • Hard work is the source of success in life. 
  • We should not segregate or alienate others for their sex or gender. 


General Chapter One Questions:

  1. What is the chapter about?
  2. Who are chapter’s main characters?
  3. What are interesting events of the chapter?
  4. What lesson do you learn from this chapter?
  5. Is the main character a good person? Give reason for your answer.
  6. How does the chapter ends? Happy or sad?

Other Chapter One Questions:

  1. Who is Hawa?
  2. Who is Selemani?
  3. What happened to the man who tried to steal Hawa’s bag?
  4. What bad things do people say about Hawa?
  5. What bad things to people say about Selemani?
  6. Explain how Hawa stopped the accident?
  7. What people said after Hawa stopped the accident?

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Mabala, R (2007) Hawa the Bus Driver, Ben and Company Ltd, Dar es Salaam.

View our Grammar Answers 
Learn more: Adverbs 
Learn more: Adjectives
Learn more: Pronouns
Read more: Parts of Speech 
Learn more: Tenses 
Learn more: Grammar Tricks
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Emmanuel Kachele

Emmanuel Kachele is a founder and Blogger of KACHELE ONLINE Blog, an educational blog where 'O' Level English - 'OLE', 'A' Level English (ALE) and other related teaching and life skills are shared extensively. This is an online center for all Tanzanian Secondary School English Language students and teachers (Forms I-VI) and all interested English Language learners and teachers worldwide.

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