Good Morning, Fish!

(1 customer review)

When thirteen year old Darryl Malgas and his best friend, Leon Bull, discover a body hanging from its neck under the old bridge, they know everything is about to change.  The body has been mutilated and the coloured people of Noordgesig speculate wildly that the killing was motivated by someone’s desire to make muti.   Over the days and weeks that follow, we get to know this community on the edge of Soweto through their joys and sorrows, their laughter and the pain of a violence that lurks just beyond the surface of things.  We join Darryl and Leon as they grow up to the realities of the thousands of ways in which apartheid has poisoned the everyday lives of ordinary people, searing all through its despicable racial laws.

Weight 290 g
Author

Clarence Hamilton

Publisher

Xarra Books

ISBN

9780620993555

eBook ISBN

9780620993564

Book Type

e-Book, Paperback

Year

2022

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1 review for Good Morning, Fish!

  1. Busisiwe Ngwenya (verified owner)

    This is Busisiwe Ngwenya from ImPower’d Woman book club.

    The book is about two teen friends, Darryl Malgas and Leon Bull who leave in the Noordgesig coloured community. One day the boys discover a mutilated body hanging under the bridge where they usually go to play and at times take daring swims in not so shallow water.

    The community suspects that the body’s penis was most likely cut off for muthi purposes whilst others suspect robbery and point fingers at their Soweto neighbours for the deed which escalates conflict the two communities.

    This is in the height of apartheid in the late 50s where the coloured community was treated a bit better than blacks, and some, had the perception that they were the next in line in the Caucasian hierachy.

    The book also explores discrimination between the coloured community itself where your skin and texture of your hair could elevate you (if fair with straight hair) or render you to the bottom rung with blacks as it happened with Darryl when he, unwittingly, locked horns with his teacher, Mr Botha who had referred to him as the ‘kaffir predikant’ because of his dark skin. He even gets attacked at school by other boys because of his skin colour and that he dared challenged his racist teacher.

    The story explores abuse and violence against women, particularly of Mrs Bull by her husband, which was normal and quite rife in most homes in those years as human rights for women and children were non-existent.

    We later learn that the dead person was Leon’s uncle who had been killed by Boytjie Bull, who had only noticed after the fact that they had not only robbed his uncle but that he had died by his hand (high on dagga) making him cut his uncle’s penis to make the incident appear like a ritual killing.

    There are lots of sub-plots which follow the everyday life of the community some of whom were entrepreneurial, held fun events like beauty contests at the local hall, arranged weddings, attended church, had get togethers; where kids played in the streets freely and there was ubuntu with neighbours caring for and looking after each other.

    Teachers could still cane kids at the slightest provocation and at times for no reason. They had affairs and fathered kids with their learners without consequences as no one would dare report them. Mr Botha was one such teacher, he also had an affair with Leon’s mother. He was not only a bigot, mean and violent but was a serial cheater too.

    There was life or people created life for themselves even under the difficult apartheid atrocities.

    We also see a white family offering scholarships to some of the Noordgesig kids, Darryl being of them. Kids falling in love beyond barrier lines, a white mother being horrified at visiting a township and having to break bread with a black (coloured) family.

    The bigotry that existed and was prevalent at the time, and the treatment of black helpers like slaves by their white masters with no regard to their dignity or the fact that they also had families that they may have wanted to spend their Christmas time with.

    We delve into bullying at school and also discover that the Malgas family might actually be black but masquerade as coloureds by probably having placed themselves at Noordgesig when conditions allowed and/or through their looks, a matter that is not explored further except that us finding out that Mrs Malgas’ mom stays in Soweto with their eldest son who speaks mostly seTswana.

    The book could have been set in any township and would still have been relevant for the darker hued communities.

    There is love, tolerance, humanity, jealousy, anguish, violence, neighbourhood and everyday human stories in the book.

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