The price of Kush

Kelso, Sylvia (2013) The price of Kush. In: Davis, Milton J., and Saunders, Charles R., (eds.) Griots: sisters of the spear. MV Media, LLC, USA, pp. 180-223.

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The Candace of Kush was in a vile temper that morning. In a quarter sun-span she had quarreled with her high priest, affronted her general, upset the queen mother, and the grooms had lamed her near-side chariot horse. Now her guard captain turned up pregnant at archery drill.

The Candace's horses were the best of Kush's twelve precious imported chariot teams. She had ordered the grooms beaten till they were lame as the horse. She fervently desired to beat Kasaqa even harder, but still more she wanted to scream, You were my second archer! We swore to ride to battle together, your arm, your unerring eye to hide the defects in mine! I relied on you!

She did say, "Who is he?" And kept the words almost under her breath.

Kasaqa stared at the ground. Dust, sand, beaten shapeless by a thousand thousand sandal prints. Upon the dust, the feet of the Candace's guard: seventy female feet at rigid attention, the grounded tips of eleven priceless composite bows.

Research Statement

Research Background SF and fantasy may draw on African sources, but are rarely written in Africa. Recently African-American writers such as Nnedi Okarafor, Nisi Shawl, Milton Davis and Charles Saunders have triggered an upsurge of confidence in black speculative writing set in or about Africa. At the same time, post-colonial theorists such as Edward Said and Gayatri Spivak have problematised (white) writers' right to uncritically borrow the material and voices of minorities, or other races. I had examined this dilemma in fiction and theory in my Creative Writing MA: nevertheless, as a white Australian woman I hesitated to accept an anthology call for stories on powerful African women, before I wrote "The Price of Kush."
Research Contribution Acceptance indicated that the story's white view of Africa and African women was not offensive to African Americans. Set in Kush, now the Sudan, at the inception of the ancient Egyptian Middle Kingdom (c.1500 BC), the story moved to redress the area's long-term eclipse by ancient Egypt, not only in fiction but in white envisagings of Africa, not to mention its exploitation, enslavement and conquest by ancient Egypt itself.
Research Significance The story was a successful, published experiment in writing, as theorised in my MA, with white post-colonial awareness from another race and/or culture's viewpoint. Set so long ago, it avoided the potentially explosive topics of white exploitation of Africa, but it did fictionally present Nile valley politics, at a time when questions of oppression and invasion make the area again a focus of international attention.
Item ID: 36911
Item Type: Book Chapter (Creative Work)
ISBN: 978-0-9960167-0-4
Keywords: anthology; heroic fiction; australian author; north queensland author; black women
Date Deposited: 21 May 2015 05:09
FoR Codes: 19 STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 1999 Other Studies in Creative Arts and Writing > 199999 Studies in Creative Arts and Writing not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9501 Arts and Leisure > 950199 Arts and Leisure not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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