Soon there must come a day when I can say for myself: This and that I shall do, this and that I shall not. Philida is the mother of four children by Francois Brink, the son of her master. The year is 1832 and the Cape is rife with rumours about the liberation of the slaves. Philida decides to risk her whole life by lodging a complaint against ...
Soon there must come a day when I can say for myself: This and that I shall do, this and that I shall not. Philida is the mother of four children by Francois Brink, the son of her master. The year is 1832 and the Cape is rife with rumours about the liberation of the slaves. Philida decides to risk her whole life by lodging a complaint against Francois, who has reneged on his promise to set her free. His father has ordered him to marry a white woman from a prominent Cape Town family, and Philida will be sold on to owners in the harsh country up north. Unwilling to accept this fate, Philida continues to test the limits of her freedom, and with the Muslim slave Labyn she sets off on a journey across the great wilderness on the banks of the Gariep River, to the far north of Cape Town. "Philida" is an unforgettable story of one woman's determination to survive and be free.
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Andre Brink, who has been nominated for the Noble Price for Literature in the past, has written a riveting book. Phlida is based on meticulous research about the condition of slaves in the 1830s in South Africa, and it also soars beyond this into a world of myth and spirits. One will not want to put it down!
And, full disclosure, my last name is also Brink, and I came upon this book through a great coincidence. My wife and I were visiting the great wine estate Solms Delta (outside Cape Town) on vacation. There are superb historic exhibits there setting forth the history of the great farm from the early 1600s, including masters and slaves. I noticed that a Cornelius Brink was an owner in the early 1800s. On return to the US, we saw a very favorable review of Philida in the Economist - and realized that the historic name of the estate, Zandvliet, used in the book, has now been changed to Solms Delta, and Cornelius Brink is a major character in Philida. I highly recommend the book and, if possible, a visit to Solms Delta.
I've become an avid reader of Andre Brink - he was a courageous fighter against Apartheid, but mostly is an author of international importance and provides a powerful reading experience.
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