FEBRUARY 4, 2020 @ 10 AM “Hum If You Don’t Know the Words” by Bianca Marais
A perceptive and searing look at Apartheid-era South Africa, told through
alternating perspectives in one unique family brought together by tragedy.
Life under Apartheid has created a secure future for Robin Conrad, a
ten-year-old white girl living with her parents in 1970s Johannesburg. In the
same nation but worlds apart, Beauty Mbali, a Xhosa woman in a rural village in
the Bantu homeland of the Transkei, struggles to raise her children alone after
her husband's death. Both lives have been built upon the division of race,and their meeting should never have occurred...until the Soweto Uprising, in which a protest by black
students ignites racial conflict, alters the fault lines on which their society is built, and shatters their
worlds when Robin’s parents are left dead and Beauty’s daughter goes missing.
After Robin is sent to live with her loving but irresponsible aunt, Beauty is hired to care for
Robin while continuing the search for her daughter. In Beauty, Robin finds the security and family that
she craves, and the two forge an inextricable bond through their deep personal losses. But Robin
knows that if Beauty finds her daughter, Robin could lose her new caretaker forever, so she makes a
desperate decision with devastating consequences.
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