Book Review – A Handful Of Earth

by Simon Bruinders (Penguin Random House South Africa) ISBN 9781485903192

Abraham de Bruyn works hard for every bit he has. His dream is to own his own patch of land where he can plant vegetables and raise a family with his sweetheart. An impossible dream, it seems, since coloured people are not allowed to own land under the current regime. They are moved off the land they’ve lived on and where they’ve worked all their lives.

World War II comes to Africa and volunteers are promised land upon their return. Abraham, his brother, Stanley, and Kobus, the runway son of a staunch, white Afrikaner Nationalist, find themselves fighting in the dunes of Egypt. Abraham saves Kobus’ life.

After the war they find only empty promises. Under the Group Areas Act they are forced to move to a barren dusty hill, filled with poverty and despair. A shattered Abraham picks himself up and fights for the promises made to them. Eventually, a piece of land between Pacaltsdorp and George is made available to the soldiers.

One last surprise is gifted to Abraham from his long-time friend, Kobus and his Kobus’s wife, Karen. Abraham’s life is complete.

This would make a great prescribed reading book in South African schools.

Maria Vosloo

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Posted on: 22nd June 2017