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In Africa, there is unrest, and possibly tragedy, when new trends clash with traditional values. With a curmudgeonly stepmother who harasses her even as she spoils her own biological daughter, Mungeu', the protagonist, blazes a path for herself in the face of many odds. But things go terribly wrong when she falls pregnant. The dilemma of whether or not to keep the pregnancy, given society's expectations, flings this young woman into direct confrontation with a life that is beyond her years. She is bent on succeeding: she will keep her baby, and with her training at a girls' craft center, start a business and bring up her illegitimate child. But Mungeu' can only make plans as she realises before long that the authority to dispose of them does not rest with her alone; there are other powerful forces out there.