Extracts from various chapters.


BOOK 1.       EMMA. 


Chapter 1


“Where the hell do you think you are going?”

Nellie looked at her boss. He had shouted at her in Afrikaans as she left the table where she sorted and wrapped the peaches for the market. She looked down as she felt her water break, the fluid dribbling slowly down her leg.

“Baas,” she cried out, “I have to go. The baby is coming.” She had always thought that she was only eight months pregnant, which was why she continued going to work. “I have to get home,” she shouted, her face a picture of horror at what had happened, “and quickly.”

“Well, see that you are back at work tomorrow,” he shouted after her as she hurried out the door, hiding the wet spot on her dress with her coat. She started running down the road towards her house as the first labour pain hit her. ‘Liewe Hemel, Good heavens’ she thought as she gritted her teeth, bending over in agony. ‘but this one is different from Jonas. It wants to come, and quickly. I hope I make it home.”

Jonas was her first baby, born a year and a half earlier. She had delivered him in her bed at home, with her neighbour Patricia, as the midwife.

Another labour pain hit her, and she doubled over with the cramp, a cry of pain escaping from her lips. Her home was not that far from where she worked, but as the labour pains started to come quicker, it seemed like 100 miles away. 

Nellie’s meager diet had kept her weight down, and her pregnancy had not been that obvious to anyone. She started feeling the pressure of a child wanting to be born. As she passed the Peninsula Maternity Home, she decided to walk into it rather than attempt to walk home and have Patricia help her deliver it. 



BOOK 2.      MARLA



Chapter 9


In November 1962, the United Nations adopted a resolution condemning apartheid. Marla and her friends held a party to celebrate the decision, feeling that their protests were achieving something. 

“Ma,” she said, after Emma once again lectured her over her student activism, “don’t worry about me. I am working hard, and I will pass all my exams.” 

And pass she did, proud when the head of the department asked her whether she would not consider continuing her studies for a Masters degree and ultimately a Doctorate. She told him that she would think about it, but that she first needed a break from studying. She wanted to travel overseas and see a bit of the world before coming to a decision on how to plan her life.

Marla graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand with a degree in sociology. She had enjoyed being a student at Wits. Although Emma had asked her not to become politically involved in any organization, something any student would find hard not to do, she had initially been very active, but later had worked behind the scenes at every protest meeting against the policies of the Nationalist Government, simply because her friends were active. She did not want to be left out of the party scene. 

The reality of where her future lay started to take precedence over political demonstrations. Yes, she had been in jail with her friends, and yes she became even more politically involved, but a lot more careful. Emma was continually begging her not to draw attention to herself and Marla always promised her that she would give up all political activity, but she didn’t. Standing on the stage in front of a hall filled with rowdy students, shouting her political beliefs into a microphone, was something she enjoyed. She was constantly reminded of what Charlie Stuart had told her about the Somerset Maugham quotation, ‘ …but when you are no longer a student…’ 




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