This is what it sounds like - an epic story set long ago in Africa, in the land overshadowed by mount Kilimanjaro (Great Sky). There's a certain amount of fantasy, in that the personal fire of the Ibandi people is visible to some of the women - the dream dancers; they can tell someone's frame of mind or health by the color and size and brightness of their num, or inner fire. The dream dancers are the female wise leaders and healers of their people, daughters of the Mother Mountain. They do not marry, though they may take lovers and have children. Meanwhile, the Hunt Chiefs are their male counterparts - the best hunters and leaders, which travel up the mountain to visit the Father Mountain and receive guidance through dreams. Both men and women dance to pass on their stories and wisdom.
The book is about how the Ibandi people respond to great changes and challenges - a different people encroaching from the South, and geological changes in their homeland itself. Two people in particular are followed from their birth onward, though it's not clear if they will bring change to their people or only affect whether or not they survive the changes.
The people from the South kill Ibandi men and steal and rape their women to try to make them part of their own tribe. If rape is triggery for you but you're otherwise interested in the book, I recommend you skip chapters 28 and 30.
What I'll probably read next:
Brian picked me up a copy of Quark/ #1, edited by Samuel R. Delany and Marilyn Hacker, published in 1970.
It's got quite a few wonderful authors in it, so I'm looking forward to checking it out.