‘Tears are very close to my eyes,’ says Bhonco, son of Ximiya. ‘Not for pain…no…I do not cry because of pain. I cry only because of beautiful things.’
Set in a South African village, this story is about two ideologically warring factions, the Believers and the Unbelievers. This division among the Xhosa people came about after a failed prophecy in the nineteenth century, and remains stubbornly strong to the present day. Both sides envision what would be best for the community. The Unbelievers welcome the opening of a casino, saying that it will bring about prosperity in the form of new jobs and opportunities. The Believers fear the impact of economic development on the village way of life. At the center of the story is Camagu, an outsider, a city person who follows a woman back to the village and subsequently becomes embroiled in the ongoing feud. Mda’s prose is beautiful and tinged with magical realism and folklore. It is a thought-provoking argument both for and against economic development, preserving tradition versus embracing new ways. It is also a love story between two people, between a woman and the land, and a story about the consequences of stubbornness.
Check the BPL catalog for this title: The Heart of Redness