- ASIN: B08XJN5BN2
- Publisher: BookBaby; 1st edition (26 Mar. 2021)
- Language: English
- Print length: 277 pages
- Genre: Family Life Fiction
The BookViral Review:
A fascinating foray into the world of apartheid in South Africa, ‘My Brother Temba’ is a touching story of two ‘brothers’ of differing parentage, forcefully separated but fighting for their relationship by the shocking segregation laws that existed right up until a democratic government was elected 1994, and still exist in practice implicitly to some extent today.
Michele Van Rensburg, as a white child growing up in South Africa, experienced first-hand some of these discriminatory injustices and has used the relationship of her two protagonists, Alex and Themba, and subsequently, that of Alex and his romantic interest, Alicia, to bring into stark relief the reality of shared existence and forbidden practices in the country during the rule of the Nationalist Party.
Whilst Alex and Themba enjoy a somewhat idyllic childhood on the family farm, they are still keenly affected by their macro-environment, by having to observe segregation laws which prevent them from openly enjoying recreational activities together or indeed being schooled in the same institution, with Themba’s school having to rely on ‘left-overs’ from the white school (thanks to the tenacity of Alex’s mother).
Van Rensburg succinctly communicates the views of both black and white individuals at the time, including the differing views amongst the white population; some taking full advantage of the status quo in their terrible mistreatment of black workers, whilst others wish for equality and respect for all.
With the plot becoming ever increasingly horrifying, the brothers represent all who risked life and liberty to bring an unjust system to its end with Van Rensburg leading us to a cliff-hanger of a climax in which both the reader and the traumatised Alex are left not knowing whether Themba is dead or alive!
Written with compassion and delicacy, ‘My Brother Temba’ is an interesting and eye-opening read, providing the reader with an inside-out view of South Africa’s troubled times. It is strongly recommended.