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In The Way Of Life

“In the Way of Life” is an uncommonly wise and moving book that provides an honest account of being in transition. It serves as a richly textured map of the personal, professional, and emotional transformations that grow out of tragedy and crisis

In The Way Of Life
In The Way Of Life

Main Characters

The novel features a disparate group of colonial-era Tanzanians living in the seacoast village of Tanga. Among them are:

  1. Khalifa: The son of an Indian businessman and an African woman. He becomes a key employee at a small bank in Tanga due to his ability to speak German.
  2. Asha: Khalifa’s wife, an orphaned niece of a shady merchant named Amur. Despite their unconventional marriage, they manage to build a life together.
  3. Nassor: Amur’s son, who attends trade schools established by the Germans and becomes an expert woodworker.
  4. Ilyas: A young Tanzanian educated by the Germans, who forms a close friendship with Khalifa.


The story unfolds against the backdrop of German colonization in Tanzania. Khalifa’s linguistic skills make him valuable to the bank, but he is drawn into Amur’s secretive business. Asha faces personal struggles, including miscarriages and an inability to have children. Nassor’s ambitions lead to tensions within the community. Meanwhile, Ilyas grapples with his past and seeks reconciliation with his parents.


The novel takes place in the seacoast village of Tanga during the colonial era. The historical context of German occupation influences the characters’ lives, shaping their choices and relationships.


  1. Trauma and Resilience: Each character has survived trauma and strives to build new lives despite their past experiences.
  2. Power and Control: Amur’s manipulation of loans and property ownership highlights the theme of power dynamics.
  3. Cultural Identity: The clash between Tanzanian and German cultures plays a significant role in the characters’ lives.

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“In the Way of Life” weaves together personal struggles, historical context, and cultural complexities. Through its characters, the novel explores resilience, identity, and the impact of colonialism on individual lives.

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