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Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature
For years, it had been what is called a “deteriorating situation.” Now all over South Africa the cities are battlegrounds. The members of the Smales family—liberal whites—are rescued from the terror by their servant, July, who leads them to refuge in his village. What happens to the Smaleses and to July—the shifts in character and relationships—gives us an unforgettable look into the terrifying, tacit understandings and misunderstandings between blacks and whites.
stage—please. I couldn’t take it now. Whites in the pass offices and labour bureaux who used to have to deal with blacks all the time across the counter—speaking an African language was simply a qualification, so far as they were concerned, that’s all. Something you had to have to get the job.— —What are you lecturing about?— But he hadn’t noticed he had spoken of back there in the past tense. —I just don’t want to go into a whole spiel, whether we’ve been deluding ourselves… If it’s been lies,
was his driving instructor, and who was almost always with him, now, in a city youth’s jeans, silent as a bodyguard, with a string of beads resting girlishly round the base of his slender neck. The white man had watched the wart-hog family shifting through the grasses, appearing as the aerials of raised tails, then cropping nearer and nearer each afternoon as they fed, the adults’ coarse hairy backs gleaming with glistens of mud from the wallow. It was a sight for tourists in a game reserve;
the neck between speaking. Her mouth was wet, she grinned with the voluptuousness of thirst quenched. —He’s afraid I’ll tell about his town woman.— —He’s what?— —Because I’ve got friendly with Martha—the wife—you know. Well friendly, hardly—we exchange a few words in the fields, she can speak a bit of Afrikaans, I’ve found out.— —Oh, his Ellen. But what makes him think you would?— She looked at this half-asleep man who did not know. She spoke violently, if not to him. —It’s rubbish. Don’t
passenger. The door was open on the driver’s side. He went round to the other but July was there before him and got in. There was a moment’s pause but July was not looking his way. He went under their eyes—Maureen, July—past the hood of the vehicle and climbed in behind the steering-wheel. The rim had been adorned with a plastic clip-on cover printed with a leopard-skin pattern. That couldn’t have come from the Indian store. More likely a garage ‘boutique’ somewhere. (He slid a glance,
beyond the doorway. —What is it she wants?— —You killed the wrong fowl… But I don’t know what it’s all about.— He called back. —Exactly. Mhani, that one with the bad foot is a young one. It will lay well next year, even.— The white woman’s hand, when she stood there and offered it—the first time, touching white skin. His wife went with her mother-in-law sometimes to the dorp to hawk green mealies or the brooms the old lady made, outside the Indian store; it had happened that a white from the