155. “Some people cannot bear news like that. They think they must live forever, and they cry and wail when they realise that their time is coming. I do not feel that, and I did not weep at that news which the doctor gave me. The only thing that makes me sad is that I shall be leaving Africa when I die.”
157. “Crisis. It was a time of sustained anxiety for anybody who read a newspaper or listened to the news on the radio, and that included his mother, Mrs. Florence Woodhouse, who was anxious at the best of times and even more so at the worst. What was the point of continuing the human race when nuclear self-immolation seemed to be such a real and imminent possibility? That was the question that occurred to Florence as she was admitted to the delivery ward of a small country hospital in Norfolk.”
172. “The sun went, and it was dark. He sat beside her in the comfortable darkness and they listened, contentedly, to the sounds of Africa settling down for the night. A dog barked somewhere; a car engine raced and then died away; there was a touch of wind, warm dusty wind, redolent of thorn trees.”
173. “Most theories and ideologies claimed to explain the world, or some aspect of it, but did not in any real sense influence the world. Underneath everything, beneath the layers of explanation that we created, beneath all our elaborate protocols, people still did exactly as they wanted to do. In other words, you did not change human nature by inventing a theory of human nature.”
178. “She watched him take the trumpet from its case and fit the mouthpiece. She watched as he raised it to his lips and then, so suddenly, from that tiny cup of metal against his flesh, the sound would burst out like a glorious, brilliant knife dividing the air. And the little room would reverberate and the flies, jolted out of their torpor, would buzz round and round as if riding the swirling notes.”
181. “Those important brain circuits, the ones that enabled most of us to avoid saying the wrong thing, were simply not there in Martha’s case; or fired in the wrong order; or were short-circuiting. In other words, Martha Drummond was an electrical problem. And understanding people as electrical problems undoubtedly helped one to tolerate them.”
182. “Well,” said Mma Ramotswe, “I have felt that anger. I felt it when I saw that the van had gone. I felt it a bit in the truck on the way back. But what is the point of anger now, Mma? I don’t think that anger will help us.” Mma Makutsi sighed. “You are right about anger,” she said. “There is no point in it.”
183. “Truth had a way of coming out on top – and it was just as well for everybody that it did. If there ever came a day when truth was so soundly defeated that it never emerged, but sank, instead, under the sheer volume of untruth that the world produced, then that would be a sad day for Botswana, and for the people who lived in Botswana. It would be a sad day for the whole world, that day.”
190. “We can be confident in our dealings with the world when what the world sees is the outer person, with all the outer person’s defences: the intimacy of a love affair is a different matter altogether. And who might not feel just the slightest bit insecure under the gaze of a lover – a gaze which falls on birthmarks, on blemishes physical and psychological, on our imperfections and impatience, on our human vulnerability?”
199. “It was always the best way of finding out information; just go and ask a woman who keeps her eyes and ears open and who likes to talk. It always worked. It was no use asking men; they simply were not interested enough in other people and the ordinary doings of people. That is why the real historians of Africa had always been the grandmothers, who remembered the lineage and the stories that went with it.”
200. “We should all busy ourselves in being who we are, although many of us do not and spend so much time and energy being something else. We try to be what others want us to be, or what we ourselves want to be. And then we suddenly realise that our lives have shot past and we have not got round to being who we really.”
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