Betrayal

by

Adriaan Van Dis
Translated by Ina Rilke

by

Adriaan Van Dis
Translated by Ina Rilke

Mulder was once an undercover courier working for a French organization known as Fraternité that trained exiles and dissidents in anticipation of their return to their as yet unliberated countries. In Dutchman Mulder’s case, that country was South Africa. Now after forty years, Mulder returns to post-apartheid South Africa, to take up residency in a small fishing town where his old comrade-in-arms, Donald, still lives.


Even after all the racial struggles, the town remains segregated. The white colonialists reside further up the hill in their crumbling mansions behind high walls and security systems, ever fearful of the thefts and vandalism against their properties. Down by the small harbour, the poor blacks live in their hovels, eking out their living from selling oysters, their children crazed out of their minds on crystal meth. Or ‘tik’ as it is known locally.
   

Donald and Mulder decide to take one of these tik-heads under their wing, a talented youth they feel they have the money, privilege and patronage to save. But this interference in the boy’s life becomes a metaphor for the continued white meddling in South Africa’s affairs. The men are rewarded with frustration and despair, while the boy himself rebuffs their help and drifts deeper into his addiction.

 

Betrayal is a scathing account of post-apartheid South Africa where violence, fear and hatred lurk at every corner and the virtues of democracy appear to lie far-off in the future.

 

Publisher: MacLehose Press

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