“A tender exploration into the beating heart of a community that endured through culture and sacrifice, with such detailed references to life in the 1960s for Indians in Johannesburg and Durban. Smita will live long in the memory of the reader. Well-recommended.” Shubnum Khan
Growing up in Bakerton, Springs in the 1950s and ’60s, Smita (Smeets) Maharaj is puzzled by a great deal of adult behaviour. Why must her tall, handsome father be so obsequious to the police? Why must brown people sit in separate train carriages from white people? Why can’t her mother see how much more important it is for her to get a good education than to learn to make the perfect roti?
Caught between the beloved traditions of India and life in a quickly modernising South Africa, between family roots in Natal and a prosperous present in the Transvaal; between the madness of apartheid and the pull of her own desires, Smita struggles to find her feet in a world beset by contradictions. As the Maharaj family expands and grows, and her mother’s twin obsessions with producing a son and finding suitable boys for her daughters to marry dominate the family’s discourse, Smita wrestles with satisfying her parents’ wishes and following her own path as she navigates her way through school and life – and comes to terms with a long-held, painful family secret.
Author: Ashti Juggath
Rights: World Rights available excl. SA English
Genre: Literary Fiction
Status: Published, Modjaji Books, SA, 2022
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