- 2016/2017 apexart New York City (NYC) Fellow
- 2014 Winner Burt Award for African Literature, Kenya Chapter
- 2010 Penguin Prize for African Writing nominee
- Ist Prize, Adult Fiction Category – NBDCK Literary Awards, September 2008 Book Week
Crucible for Silver & Furnace for Gold
- Written by Moraa Gitaa
Created: 01 October 2013
Debut novel titled ‘Crucible for Silver & Furnace for Gold’ – published 2008 by Nsemia Publishers, Canada available on Amazon and select bookstores.
Crucible has been hailed as re-writing gender in times of HIV-AIDS in contemporary multi-racial Africa.
Read an excerpt chapter of Crucible below:
…to Lavina’s horror, her eyes filled with tears. Giorgio was peering into her eyes using the verandah’s electric blue luminous fluorescent tube light and the Malindi moonlight as well. She started to avert her head, but in a smooth cat-like movement he caught her chin and turned her face towards him. She tried to resist, but he was too strong. She had no strength or will left to fight.
She stood still. The betraying drops trembling on her long, but now lowered lashes.
‘Look at me,’ he said. She gave a brief negative shake with her head. ‘Say it Lavina. I want to hear it! What’s holding you back?!’ he demanded, his voice soft yet at the same time harsh.
‘Please! Go to hell! A different one from the one I am in right now! You don’t know what you’re asking me to tell you! I’m not the type of girl who treats my feet to Remron or Clarks designer shoes that cost thirty thousand shillings a pair! We are two very different individuals Giorgio!’ she cried.
After she tore herself free from his grasp, he made no effort to touch her, but simply stood, his hands now at his sides.
‘Yes I do. We both know that you need to. The words that you tell me now will be your passport to freedom. I may not know what it is exactly, but I know that it’s the key to why you’re holding back. It doesn’t matter how safe or comfortable you make it, a cage is still a cage, gilt-edged or not. It’s time you moved out of it. Out of your comfort zone, and it has nothing to do with money or designer outfits. There’s something more Lavina, and I intend to find out what it is that you’re holding back! Leave the past behind Lavina.’
She felt as though she was literally tearing apart inside. She had been made to understand that safety was the only sensible course. Could somebody really still love her if they found out? How could all this emotional upheaval possibly be love? She had known this man only a few days. Just to see him, to be within his magnetic aura, was enough to melt her resolve, like cooking oil in a frying pan.
‘Oh what a tangled web we weave…’ she quoted Shakespeare under her breath.
‘My favourite author too.’ Giorgio interjected. When he looked into her eyes the way he was doing now, his gaze stripped her soul bare, exposing all her most intimate hopes and fears. She had nowhere to hide.
Something of her agony must have shown on her anguished face, for reaching out, Giorgio took her hand and drew her gently into the circle of his arms in a gentle hug.
‘I’m sorry sweetheart. I shouldn’t push you so hard. You’ll tell me in your own time when you are ready to confide in me. I’m a selfish bastard and lousy host. It’s just that-’
He bit the words off, his frown quickly replaced by a rueful smile. ‘You must be starving! Come on. Let’s have something to eat. We’ll talk later.’
‘Must we?’ Lavina pleaded in a small voice. She was grateful for his consideration and thrilled beyond measure by the endearment, sweetheart, but all too aware that this was only a brief respite. It was not in Giorgio Santini’s nature to give up or retreat.
‘Eat or talk? The answer to both is yes,’ he said before she had mustered a reply. ‘Ignoring a problem won’t make it go away. Remember, a problem shared is a problem halved? And sometimes even solved?’ His tone was final but gentle. ‘Serious decisions have to be made Lavina.’
‘I’m…so afraid’ was what she meant to say, but couldn’t. Instead she said it!! The unthinkable, unsay-able just slipped out!! Head bent, she said:
‘G. I’m – I’m HIV Positive.’ She whispered softly yet urgently in a trembling voice.
There was a deathly silence. She pardoned herself mentally for the pun! She caught her breath as her whole body tensed, waiting for his response to her earth-shattering revelation. Or so she thought. One could have heard a pin drop if it wasn’t for the sound of the lapping Indian Ocean waters from the beach below.
His hand, which has been lifting her hair and lightly massaging her neck and nape, stilled for a millisecond. She knew it was momentary shock, but in the space of a heartbeat he must have regained his composure, for he continued caressing her neck, and lifted her head so he could look into her eyes, his were ever so gentle.
‘Are you sure?’
‘Lavina. I’d never deliberately hurt you.’
She nodded. She believed him. He wasn’t a sadist or a masochist, but nor would he live a lied. Somebody famous or infamous for that matter once said that to live a lie is to live in the future, but she couldn’t remember who it was now.
‘So now we’ll eat, and don’t tell me you’re not hungry.’ He warned as she glanced up at him.
He squeezed her shoulders gently, all the time thinking how, irrevocably, he seemed to be falling deeper and deeper in love with his Kenyan-African princess, and led her into the living room and back to their abandoned meal of earlier on.
Read a short review for Indecent Proposal:
After tens of bank robberies, later in contemporary Kenya comes a story that goes beyond a side paragraph on newspaper page no 5. and a slot in the 9 o'clock news. Ms Gitaa gives us a scary realer-than-life account of the Kenyan heist world, its characters, their motivations and how desperation goes around in an easy come, no-easy go circle.