ABOUT THE STORY WRITER
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.
INTRODUCTION OF THE STORY
‘Mabala the Farmer’ is a short story about one man called Mabala. This Mabala lived in Dar es Salaam and worked as a clerk. He did not save money and he was very stubborn. He decided to go to live and work in shamba in the village but he did not know how to cultivate. He made a lot of mistakes on the farm. His wife helped him and later he worked as a village accountant and he won the respect of the villagers at last.
This short story is the collection of seven (7) chapters that all narrate the life of Mabala, his work, and his family experiences.
ANALYSIS OF THE SHORT STORY
THREE THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE GETTING STARTED
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:
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?
SETTING OF THE STORY
The short story is set in Dar es Salaam, Morogoro, Tabora, the village, Mtama bar, and the shamba.
CHARACTERS OF THE STORY
The short story has several characters like:
The short story has several characters like:
1. Mabala, Main character, a clerk and village accountant, Mauja’s husband
2. Mauja, Main character, Mabala’s wife
3. Martina, their daughter
LANGUAGE OF THE STORY
The writer has applied a very simple language that suits the level of Form One and Form Two Students. However, in some cases, the writer has applied Swahili words such as Bwana, Bwana Shamba, and others which can be difficult for Non-Swahili speakers.
Some of Kiswahili words:
1. Bwana Haambiliki (Mr Never-Told)
2. Baba – Father
3. Bwana Shamba – Agricultural officer
4. Mama – Mother
5. Mzee – Elder, old man.
FIGURES OF SPEECH
As usual, Form One and Form Two Students are only introduced to a 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.
Mama Martina says: “In Kiswahili, they say that if a child cries for a razor blade, give it to him.” (Page 20)
Men: “Drinking and farming cannot be cooked in the same pot.”
This is the figure of speech that compares two things by using conjunctions such as, ‘like’ and ‘as’. For example:
“Plants are like men, he told us.”
“Plants are hungry, he said,”
“Their leaves are open like mouths.”
“A hoe is not like a pen.”
ANALYSIS OF THE STORY’S CHAPTERS
CHAPTER ONE: MABALA
This chapter talks about the early life of Mabala in the city of Dar es Salaam and the idea of starting a new life in the village. Mauja goes to Morogoro first to find the shamba and then Mabala promises to follow her later.
SUMMARY OF THE CHAPTER
Mabala was born in Dar es Salaam when Dar es Salaam was still a small town. His parents came from Tabora but they moved to Dar essalaam before Mabala was born.
He grew up in Dar essalaam. He went to Primary School and finished Standard 8 in 1961. He got a job as a clerk for 25 years. He finally became a chief clerk.
In his life, he had two problems.
(1)He was not careful with his money. He liked to spend money carelessly. He had no savings. He did not have a farm or a house for the future. He married Mauja in 1975 and they lived a happy life and spending. In 1979, Mauja gave birth to a baby girl, Martina. Now Mabala realized that he had to save money for the future. He tried to save money but the prices of things were up.
(2)The second problem of Mabala was his stubbornness. He was stubborn and obstinate. Although he had a good and kind heart, he did not change his mind. Even his wife knew that you can waste your time arguing with him because he can’t change his mind easily. Maybe this was because Mabala was the only child of his parents.
(3)Mabala’s third problem was that he has never lived in the village and he has never cultivated a farm. He doesn’t know anything about hard work. He just listens to the radio and read books about the village. So, he thinks that life in the village is very wonderful.
One day Mabala told his wife that they should go to the village and live there because life in the village is easy. He told his wife that in the village you can simply wake up, plant, weed, harvest, and eat. However, Mama Martina told him that life in the village is not easy. She told him that in the village you have to work hard and if you don’t work hard you will fail. But because Mabala is stubborn, he did not agree and Mama Martina decided to agree with him. Mama Martina then went to the village. At the village, she got a farm and planted maize according to the instructions of Bwana Shamba and she used fertilizer in the right way. During the harvest, she got 60 bags of maize which is more than Mabala’s salary for the whole year.
CHAPTER 1 CHARACTERS:
Mabala - Mama Martina's husband
Mauja - Mama Martina
Martina - She is ready to go to Standard 1
Mama Martina’s relatives - They live in Morogoro
Mabala’s parents and grandparents
CHAPTER 1 SETTINGS:
Dar es Salaam
CHAPTER 1 ISSUES/THEMES
Misuse of money
Mabala never saves money. So, he gets problems when he retires and goes to live in the village.
Mabala is very stubborn and obstinate. He can’t change his mind when he decides something. It is not easy to change his mind.
Mama Martina works hard. She believes working hard is a source of success.
CHAPTER 1 LESSONS/MESSAGES
- We should save money for future use.
- We should not be stubborn. We should accept other’s ideas or advice if we want to succeed.
- We should work hard to get success. Mama Martina harvests 60 bags of maize for the first year because she works hard.
CHAPTER 1 COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS
1. Mention 3 problems of Mabula
2. Where Mama Martina does gets the land for cultivation?
3. How many years has Mabala worked as a clerk?
4. When and where Mabala was born?
5. What does Mabala think of the village life?
6. What does Mama Martina think of the village life?
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Mabala, Richard S (2012) Mabala the Farmer, Ben and Company Limited, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
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