Books·Canadian

This Book Betrays My Brother

A book by Kagiso Lesego Molope.

Kagiso Lesego Molope

What does a teenage girl do when she sees her beloved older brother commit a horrific crime? Should she report to her parents, or should she keep quiet? Should she confront him? All her life, Naledi has been in awe of Basi, her charming and outgoing older brother. They've shared their childhood, with its jokes and secrets, the alliances and stories about the community. Having reached 13, she is preparing to go to the school dance. Then she sees Basi commit an act that violates everything she believes about him. How will she live her life now? 

This coming-of-age novel brings together many social issues, peculiar not only to South Africa but elsewhere as well, in the modern world: class and race, young love and physical desire, homosexuality. In beautiful, lyrical and intimate prose, Molope shows the dilemmas facing a young woman as she attempts to find her place in a new, multiracial and dynamic nation emerging into the world after more than a century of racist colonialism. A world now dominated by men. There are no simple answers. (From Mawenzi House)

From the book

Marapong, meaning "the place of the bones" or "where the bones are" — note the subtle difference — is where I come from. "What came first?" people like to ask about the name. Were the bones there first or were the people there first? I still have no idea. I know our people were moved here from somewhere else, a place now occupied by White people.

Marapong is not the sort of place you stumble upon. To get to it, you have to follow the instructions — if you remember them. Stay on the road and turn right at the right places. One arrives there only after fully experiencing that unnerving feeling of being lost in a strange country with a strange language. You begin to come undone, just a little bit. Re-read directions — the major maps are not specific — wonder if perhaps you may have missed a sign while your thoughts wavered. Maybe you think: I should have had my full attention on this, turned off the radio, not reached for another handful of chips. It is as if the plan is to make you think you've made some sort of miscalculation. But just as you say your prayers, wipe a damp forehead or shift uncomfortably in your warm seat, then what do you know: you're there!


From This Book Betrays My Brother by Kagiso Lesego Molope ©2018. Published by Mawenzi House.

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