The Calling of Katie Makanya

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The Calling of Katie Makanya

Around the time of Katie Makanya’s childhood, South Africa was beginning to change rapidly due to the discovery of diamonds, which ultimately kept bringing Europeans into their territory causing their cultures and race to blend together. This book illustrates the black South African life that Katie lives and how she uneasily adapts to the incoming European culture during those years of colonization.

Although Katie was brought up with a strong sense of her native culture we see that in the beginning of the book Katie seems to be curious of what European culture is like. Katie and her sister get the opportunity the visit England to perform in their choir, The Jubilees. Before her departure Katie was excited to see the queen and was fascinated with the type of clothes that she would possibly be wearing. At this time Katie didn’t seem hesitant to learn what their culture was like, especially their fashion. It is also known that Katie speaks fluent English and was a practicing Christian, which is a part of western culture that she gladly accepted. Once in England her expectations of the west wasn’t as she thought. Before the show Katie saw the Queen, who was nowhere near dressed as she imagined. No purple robe or jeweled crown as her father had told her, she was disappointed. A lady then came up to her to help her get ready, but she did not want any help. The lady pulled down the neck of her dress and told her that she would be stylish. Katie stepped back and gave a quick remark, “At home it is only the heathen women who expose their breasts.” (McCord pg 36) As Katie experienced their ways she began to reject certain aspects of their culture because she felt more comfortable in her own. She did not like the way they dressed after all and how they covered their natural odor with too many washings and perfumes. Katie was offered fame and wealth to stay in England for a singing career, however she quickly declined because it was not of...
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