Frankie and Stankie
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Dinah and her sister Lisa are growing up in 1950s South Africa, where racial laws are tightening. They are two little girls from a dissenting liberal family. Big sister Lisa is strong and sensible, while Dinah is weedy and arty. At school, the sadistic Mrs Vaughan-Jones is providing instruction in mental arithmetic and racial prejudice. And then there's the puzzle of lunch break. 'Would you rather have a native girl or a koelie to make your sandwiches?' a first-year classmate asks. But Dinah doesn't know the answer, because it's her dad who makes her sandwiches. As the apparatus of repression rolls on, Dinah finds her own way. As we follow her journey through childhood and adolescence, we enter into one of the darker passages of twentieth-century history.
rights at all? And everything that’s on offer for her is set up at their expense? Plus, right now, you can’t get into the lecture halls for the Saracen armoured vehicles which are lining the university’s main access. Soldier boys in heavy boots are tramping up the library stairs. Yet Dinah loves the work. She especially loves discovering the early English poets, but not even the medieval literature man can remain immune from the soldier boys’ presence – and, one day, after his Sir Gawain
sister and she wants to keep him under her thumb. Because we all know what these umfaans can be like and she’s scared he’ll go to the bad. And, finally, amazingly, David Mkise is released and he’s settled in the car – a little, cowering Zulu boy whose instinct is to shrink and flinch. Plus Sam’s got possession of the passbook, which the policeman has thoughtfully defaced. And David who, for the first few weeks, cringes and hugs the walls, has soon blossomed into a swaggering adolescent who is
cats.’ ‘Do you find there’s a big black tom cat around here that’s always bothering them?’ he says. ‘I tell you, my cat is frightened to death of him. Frightened to death, I swear to God.’ Then it’s not long before Bart and Mattie have also come to grief. They’ve both of them started to court girl cats in the flats across the street. Bart is killed outright by a car. Mattie disappears until, four days later, when Dinah thinks to crawl into the anti-termite zone under the house. And there is
and is longing to have more privacy. From time to time she draws a chalk line down the middle of the room between the beds and screams at Dinah that she’s throwing away anything, anything that crosses the line. Lisa, unbeknown to Dinah, has entered adolescence. She gets into huddles with their mum in a new and unaccustomed form of female bonding that Dinah finds a bit threatening. She has no idea that this has something to do with menstruation and, when she eventually finds out, over a year
habitually stay awake all night. Then, in between, there are the short-term liaisons with birds of passage in the hotel. Maud sometimes arranges dates for Dinah but Dinah finds that these occasions, though they provide an excuse for running up a range of boned and strapless brocade evening dresses, fall wholly outside her range of management skills and leave her feeling all thumbs. It’s like being expected to dance in public when no one has taught you the steps. She’s aware that a modicum of