Listening through the cracks

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

Kyne is an outsider: a white, Danish girl, living in a country where the majority are blacks and the few whites are English. Her sentiments of belonging and integration are lost when her family's farms are taken away by the dictatorship government in 2004. The country, Zimbabwe, spirals out of control: murder, starvation and chaos becomes the way of life. Kyne and her family are left with nothing. Kyne travels back in time to the bizarre life of her childhood on their farm in Rhodesia during the war in the 1970s. It is a nostalgic yet often horrifying return to her past as she uncovers the strange, sometimes idyllic lifestyle that was once a very normal way of life to her. The story unfolds in a landscape that is both harsh yet beckoning. Kyne confronts her relationships with all those around her beginning with her Danish parents who are determined to continue farming in a land which they call home, even if war threatens their lives. The reader meets Pencil the Cook who allows Kyne into the silent calm of his kitchen, his family, and the secret, adult world in which Kyne will learn of the terrifying reality of war. She describes the workers on the farm who are pulled between loyalty to their employer and to the blacks who seek independence from white rule. Finally, she describes the other white families nearby who are attacked, tortured and killed for attempting to the only way of life they have ever known.