1. Why do you think the novel is titled by the name Maru rather than that of Margaret Cadmore?
2. An unusual structural feature of the book is the chronological relation between the opening episode and what follows--that is, the frame or introduction occurs later than the main narration. Why do you think this may be the case?
3. Within the novel, what roles is education shown to play in the lives of colonized people? Does Maru receive any benefits from hers?
4. Critics seem to differ somewhat on the actual form of Head's fictinal or semi-fictional works, judging them variously as fantasies, romances, novels, autobiographical fictions. or histories. What generic labels might you aply to Maru, and what different expectations or interperetations might result from a change in labels?
5. Previous African novels by male authors such as Weep Not Child and The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born, were consciously concerned with recent political events in the colonial and post-colonial period. Head's politics seem of a different order--indeed, one critic has even claimed that she is not a political writer at all, and several of her books seem to turn on a plot in which the hero renounces political power.
6. Can you argue that Head is in fact a political writer, and if so, in what ways? If her political preoccupations are somewhat different than those of her contemporary male African writers, to what extent may these differences reflect attitudes of a woman writer? In this context, is the definition of "politics" gendered?
7. From what point of view is the tale narrated? Do you feel you are able to understand Maru's inner life?
8. Are any elements of the story permanently unclear to you? Do these contribute to Head's goal, of making a tale which will be "magical" and communicate a sense of wonder?
9. What is the significance of Margaret Cadmore's paintings?
10. Is there any symbolism/allegorical importance to the fact that Margaret Cadmore's name is as European as her identity is Masarwan? Is the ultimate effect one of incongruity or transcendence?
11. Would the interpetation of this tale be affected by knowing that its plot may be based on an inversion of a famous marriage between a future hereditary chief, S. Khuma, later the first president of Botswana, S. Khuma, and an English white woman?
12. What do you think of the suggestion that Moleka and Maru may be opposing aspects of the same personality? Is there evidence for or against this view?
13. Is the book's conclusion open-ended? Are there any issues or topics which it leaves unresolved?