Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

Patchwork is a fictional story told by a female character from her perspective as a child and as an adult. Its set in Zambia over two periods in time, the late seventies and the start of the millennium. It's the story of family ties and how a child can get caught up in the consequences of the actions and decisions adult's make. The story reveals how the effects of these consequences can manifest in the child's life for many years after the fact. Pumpkin is the result of a relationship between a teenage woman and a married man. The coming of age story reveals the impact growing up with a part-time father has on Pumpkin. Particularly the lengths she's prepared to go to explain her father's absence to her friends and the rejection she feels when one day her father ignores her in the street when he's with his legitimate family. Pumpkin's mother turns to alcohol as a shield from the heartache she suffers in her relationship with an older married man and Pumpkin is burdened with having to look after her mother. Pumpkin's life takes a turn when her father takes her to live with him in his marital home. Thrust into the hostile environment of her new home, Pumpkin finds herself trying to adjust to a different life. Caught between struggling to survive a new home, making new bonds, and experiencing life issues such as the death of a neighbour, Pumpkin also has to accept the fact that her parents will never be together when her mother sobers and gets married.

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