Colonialism Fiction

Safe Houses

Safe HousesRose ZwiSpinifex1993

From Spinifex: Set against the escalating violence of the last years of the Apartheid regime, Safe Houses tells the story of three families – the Sibiyas, the Singers, the Sterns – who are inextricably bound by love and hate, hope and betrayal. Ruth and Lola are drawn into the struggle against Apartheid, but feel marginal: it is difficult to find solutions when one is part of the problem. Can love and hope survive an evil political system that indiscriminately devours both the guilty and the innocent? Against all odds, a friendship develops between Lola’s uncle Zalman, a resident of a home for the aged, and Mr Sibiya, a black cleaner. Both understand the true complexity of the situation. Two of Mr Sibiya’s children have left the country to become freedom fighters; the two who remain are faced with the problem of fighting oppression from within the system, or taking up arms against it. Zalman, with his Eastern European history, knows that no amount of privilege can insulate the whites against the world outside their high walls.

… after reading Safe Houses one has the feeling of knowing something about South Africa, something more than statistics and sound grabs … [and] I want to read more of Rose Zwi.

Kate VeitchAustralian Book Review