Shifting Sands


Shifting Sands is a gripping narration by Kemunto aka Kemu” to her three girlfriends, all of different cultural heritage. Kemu aspires to be a writer but life with its vicissitudes doesn’t make her dream an easy one. We follow the four young girls as they mature in this adventure, growing up and facing the world. Their encounters, surprises and cultural intricacies make for good reading.

Their intertwined lives from a young age, and their different cultural backgrounds and upbringing offer interesting insights. Kemu and Myra are Kenyan Africans while Shilpa is third-generation Kenyan-Indian and Latifah is third-generation Kenyan-Arab. The latter two face questions of nationality all the time, despite that their families have been in the country for generations.

Shifting Sands is an intriguing tale of enduring encounters of living a moral and ethical life, placing its own challenges on friendships cemented from early childhood and school. How will the four ladies’ friendship survive?

Shifting Sand’s various strands of narratives are compelling and herald the coming of age of a gifted and talented writer who brings women and children experiences hauntingly to life. In this tale we get contrasting insights of issues that impact women, children and relationships. Tradition and cultural practices of old are challenged in the face of modernity while age-old wisdom, like that from Kemu’s grandmother (Magokoro) and father, appear immutable.

What Others Say

“Mombasa, a tapestry city where east meets west and north meets south, is the metonymy that gives Moraa Gitaa the opportunity to indict archaic cultural beliefs, government authorities, extremism, the suppression of women, and a whole slew of questionable practices in modern Kenya. Kemunto’s voice is that of the archetypal, dignified and upright woman everywhere in the developing world, not just that of the African woman. Quite well said.” – Charles Phebih-Agyekum, author and book editor.

“Shifting Sands is a powerful, compelling and gripping narrative employing a mature mastery of the English language that leaves the reader yearning for more.” – Excerpt from judges’ comments, 2008 National Book Development Council of Kenya Literary Awards.

“Moraa Gitaa’s Shifting Sands will add value to the national discourse on gender discrimination, inter-generational tensions, socioeconomic marginalization, HIV and AIDS, the injustices suffered by the poor in this country, corruption, transnational and global connections and their impact on the lives of Kenyans and other nationals residing in the country.” – Comparative Literature Lecturer at a Kenyan university.

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