INJASANI by S.L.Swart
This is an interesting telling of the early years in Southern Africa as depicted by the lives of the men and women who become the chief characters of this interesting historical novel. The characters who contribute to the variety in this story of the late nineteenth, early twentieth century are almost larger than life and the very expressive use of English by the author ensures that every nuance of description is used in the telling. The women are portrayed as being emotionally strong with an insight into the ways of men and of using those quirks to their advantage or to suit their purposes whilst the men are usually strong and robust.
The events which move from Europe through the Cape of Good Hope up through the Transvaal to Rhodesia are seen through the eyes of both black and white people and the story attempts to give the reader an insight into the cultures which were meeting headlong in these raw frontiers with the subsequent misunderstandings and abuse of the ‘weak' by the ‘strong', whichever happened to have the upper hand at that point in time. The stories of the individuals span their lifetimes and include all the experiences of life; birth, marriage, sexual encounters, rape, sodomy, trauma, death, murder, abuse and plots thick with love, revenge and hate.
The author liberally uses colloquial language and descriptions and the book could serve as a rudimentary introduction to the local life, social structures and customs in the southern countries of Africa at that time. I found it interesting reading as an African and felt it boldly retold the story of the sub continent which was emerging into the broader world at the time that England was expanding her empire. If you are looking for a novel that tells the story of the early years of Southern Africa without pulling any punches then this read is for you.