57 pages 1 hour read

Abdulrazak Gurnah


Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2020

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more.

Part 2, Chapters 3-7

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 2, Chapter 3 Summary

Hamza is a slight, young Tanzanian man who, like Ilyas, joins the askari, the Tanzanian mercenaries who are part of the German schutztruppe, the Home Guard. The group is a mix of volunteers and others who have been coerced to join as the Germans go through the countryside and seek members for their Home Guard. Hamza volunteered in order to escape the desperate life he had been leading.

After an exhausting march, he ends up at a boma, a palisade in which the Germans train new recruits. The enlistees are treated like “inferiors,” called “swine,” and punished for every minor infraction. The Germans submit them to ferocious military training. Little by little different members of the group are singled out to perform different missions. Hamza becomes acclimated to the severe treatment that he receives, and comes to feel he belongs to the group. He takes some pride in the reality that locals are afraid of the askari.

At the conclusion of their training, Hamza receives special orders. The Germans recognize he has the ability to read. They ask Hamza a number of questions while insulting him. His interrogator is a German lieutenant, who speaks Hamza’s language. Hamza also speaks German and understands in both languages what is being said to him.

Related Titles

By Abdulrazak Gurnah

Study Guide



Abdulrazak Gurnah


Abdulrazak Gurnah