Another time, a young native girl was accidentally killed when she was riding on the cart that carries the coffee, which she was not supposed to do. When she jumped off, she fell under the cart and broke her skull. Her parents had expected the narrator to compensate them for their loss, but the narrator refused to do so. Eventually, the older couple approached the local government, who only offered to hang the driver for murder. In the end, the couple received no compensation.

Despite the author's disagreement with the native system of justice, the natives on her farm always hold her up as the final judge in their matters. She believes that she has become a symbol in their minds. As she finishes the ride she meets up with the brothers of Kabero, the boy who fired the gun. They say that Kabero has not returned home and that they assume lions ate him or that he killed himself, a common native act. The narrator then mourns the loss of the young Kabero too, before going home.


These two chapters introduce the second section of Out of Africa that deals with an accidental shooting. The account of the shooting and its aftermath is told as an entirely self-contained unit. There is no indication that these events chronologically follow those from the first section. Likewise, there will be no indication in the later chapters that these events took place before them. The story of the shooting exists in an entirely timeless sphere that simply allows the narrator be a storyteller, describing the events around her.

The account of the shooting also allows the narrator assumes an anthropological tone. Particularly, she describes in detail the two different legal systems used by Europeans and natives. But her anthropology does not take place from an unbiased standpoint. The narrator prefers the European system and explains why. Furthermore, after analyzing the native legal system she also speculates, in perhaps a not entirely culturally sensitive way, as to why natives created their legal system and her role in it.

The narrator finds the native system of justice less correct than the European one because it focuses on compensating parties instead of punishing them. She believes that this practice does not fairly allow for occasional accidents, which is what she considers the shooting on the farm to be. The two examples she cites of previous justice, likewise, both involve what she sees as accidents: Farah's younger brother throwing a stone, which is a childish act, and a girl accidentally dying from a fall. Because the narrator believes these incidents to be accidents, she finds the native desire for compensation ridiculous. She blatantly refuses to pay the poor old parents of the dead girl, even though they sit on her lawn all evening. She even seems to take pleasure in the fact that they were never compensated, because she believes that due to the accidental nature of the girl's death, they should never be.

The narrator also observes the irony that the native symbolically appoint her as the adjudicator of their conflicts, even though she does not agree with their method of arbitration. She believes that the Africans are able to do so because their minds work differently from European minds. Natives still have the ability to mythologize and theologize, a skill which Europeans have lost.