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In the Eastern Cape, Stephen (Malusi) Mzamane, a young Anglican priest, must journey to his mother’s rural home to inform her of his elder brother’s death.
First educated at the Native College in Grahamstown, Stephen was sent to England in 1869 for training at the Missionary College in Canterbury. But on his return to South Africa, relegated to a dilapidated mission near Fort Beaufort, he had to confront not only the prejudices of a colonial society but the discrimination within the Church itself.
Conflicted between his loyalties to the amaNgqika people, for whom his brother fought, and the colonial cause he as Reverend Mzamane is expected to uphold, Stephen’s journey to his mother’s home proves decisive in resolving the contradictions that tear at his heart.
Taken Captive By Birds is a collection of Marguerite Poland's 'discovery' of birds as a child and the role they have played in her and her family's life. Interwoven with the personal story are the myths, traditions and meanings behind birds and their names within Zulu and Xhosa culture. The book is divided into 18 chapters, each of which loosely deals with one particular bird or, sometimes, a grouping of birds.
When lighthouse keeper Hannes Harker is posted to a remote island with his young wife, he discovers something long-hidden in the tower that causes him to lose his footing and fall.
Seriously injured, Hannes is evacuated to hospital and nursed back to health by Sister Rika, to whom he haltingly tells the story of his life: of his mother’s mysterious death, of his wild young wife, Aletta, and of the desolate island inhabited only by the lighthouse keepers and guano workers – two communities confined together, yet rigidly separated in one of the bleakest places on earth. With the arrival of a figure from Aletta’s past, her own secrets erupt into the present, just as the simmering tensions and injustices endured for so long by the guano workers erupt into a single, shocking act of violence.
Written in the exquisite, haunting prose for which Marguerite Poland is renowned, The Keeper is the story of two generations of lighthouse keepers – men obsessed by their duty to the light – and the wives who accompany them into a life of frightening isolation.
The Keeper is a novel about the power of secrets, the power of love, and the power of stories.
Against a backdrop of drought, the rinderpest pandemic, the South African War, the burgeoning gold-mining industry and the complex birth of the exploitative system of recruiting migrant labour, Shades explores the growing tensions between cultures in South Africa at the turn of the twentieth century and the deepening awareness of the black mission-educated elite, empowered by the printing press, of the need to articulate their political and spiritual beliefs. Set within the microcosm of an isolated Eastern Cape mission, Shades is not only a love story and the chronicle of a family but a sensitive and perceptive insight into the country's wider conflicts. It explores the slow but inexorable destruction of the fabric of a community, the assault on its traditions and the struggle to reconcile two faiths: the Christian and the traditional beliefs of the amaXhosa in their ancestral shades. It is the story of those far-sighted enough to seek convergence and those destined to undermine its wisdom. Primarily, Shades is an intimate tale of love, friendship, acceptance and profound loss: of life, of faith and of belonging.
A publication that contributes to the recording and understanding of a significant aspect of South Africa's cultural heritage. It is a title about human creativity. Not the creativity of the plastic arts, or of music, but rather that of the poet, the wordsmith. The title gives an overview of the history of the Nguni cattle and their economic, social, political and spiritual importance to the Zulu people, both past and present. It examines the vital role played by cattle and cattle-related imagery in the oral tradition of the Zulu people – in Zulu poetry, tales, proverbs and riddles. The colour and pattern of a hide or the shape of a pair of horns, is metaphorically linked to the names of animals, birds, plants and the everyday objects familiar to pastoralists in nature.
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