Virtual Book Tour Dates: 12/1/14 – 12/15/14
Genres: Psychological Thriller
On the fringes of a civil war arise a kaleidoscope of stories of abuse, power, betrayal, sex, love, and absolution, all united by the failings of a dying government. Set in the backdrop during the last years of South Africa’s apartheid, How the Water Falls is a psychological thriller that unfolds the truth and deception of the system’s victims, perpetrators, and unlikely heroes.
LENA STOOD OUTSIDE of her workplace with a sign that read, “Work for First African Bank and Die of Starvation Wages.” Down the block, at a shoe store, a light-skinned man in his mid-fifties stood in front of his workplace with another sign that read, “Work for Edworks and Die of Starvation Wages.” Not far from him, a third accomplice—a young Zulu woman—stood in front of a clothing store holding a similar sign. All three lived in different townships, but Lena had managed to speak with them about staging this little protest during their lunch break. At first they were reluctant, fearing losing a job that had taken a long time to find. But none of them were paid the same wages as their white co-workers. Despite the fact that blacks were allowed to be employed in the downtown Johannesburg retail district, and had been for some years now, there were issues regarding pay and pay raises. They were earning nearly half of what their white counterparts were making, suggesting that they were worth half a human being. Lena had also contacted Robert Mlambisi from the paper to take photos. She understood it would not make the front page; nonetheless, to be mentioned at all in a newspaper would still achieve attention.
“How you been, sista?” Robert asked, giving her a hug while holding his camera with his other hand.
“Well, I am still ‘ere,” she smiled.
“That is much of a good thing as any!” he laughed. “It’s good to see you rreturning to your old habits. Good indeed!”
“Thanks for coming, Rrobbie. Dis is much apprreciated.”
“For a worthy cause, anytime. Anytime! But I must confess, this will be my last assignment with The Daily Harbour,” he said. “Starrting at the end of the month, I will be working for The Sowetan.”
“Oh, I see,” she nodded. “Why ‘aven’t you worrked with dem frrom de beginning?”
“To prrove a point I can work for a white newspaper strrictly on my own merrits. But as luck would have it, my editor ‘as hired his quota of blacks this year, simply because they are black. Naturally that leaves me to ponder why he hirred me in the first place. So now, I’m moving on to where my talents arre acknowledged, I think.”
Gently pressing his hand for support, she said, “Good luck, Rrobbie. I’m surre you will find fulfillment dere.”
“So does my wife!” he laughed again. “She ‘as thrreatened to find anotha ‘usband if I don’t stop complaining so much.” Catching his breath, he announced, “So, Lena, shall we begin?”
He stepped back to the edge of the sidewalk and started to snap shots. Several people, who were white, walked by Lena and the other two protesters, and only glanced at the signs. Robbie took the photos of the passersby glancing at the signs. Although not stopping, they were at least noticing the existence of the signs. Robert eased his way around to photograph the two others who were dressed in their fine work attire appropriate for retail sales. Twenty minutes into the silent protest, the owner of the shoe store swung the entrance of the door open. In his early forties, wearing a suit and tie, he angrily pointed at his employee.
“What is the meaning of this, Dingane?” he demanded.
“Rread de sign, baas,” he calmly replied, as if softly blowing a toy boat down the stream.
Glaring at Robert, he turned his pointing finger into his direction. “You there!” he cried. “Stop taking photos! You have no right to take photos in front of my place of business!”
Robert removed his press card from his jacket to show the store owner.
“This is public prroperty,” Robert defended smoothly. “As a member of the prress, I ‘ave the rright to be ‘ere. You can call the police if you like, but I tell you, they cannot do anything to stop me.”
The owner blinked as if he had been slapped in the face. Then turning to his employee, he ranted, “Dingane, get back inside before I fire you! You know very well I pay you the going rate for kaffirs!”
Dingane smeared a smile, exposing two missing teeth, one on the top, the other on the bottom. “Yes, baas,” he replied evenly, sarcastically. “An’ how fery kind of you. A man wit morals may pay more. But not you, baas. Tank you for being like any utta man on dis block so my childrren can starve.”
Huffing, the owner crossed his arms. “Well, it’s not my fault you people breed like rabbits! That’s the real problem. You people don’t stop having children you cahn’t afford!”
Looking at Robert as if soliciting strength to not hit his employer, Dingane returned to stare at him. “Could you, honestly, feed a family wit 30 rrands a mont? Afta taxes?”
“I write your paychecks. I know how much you make!”
“Den shall I make a sign for you, too, baas? Come join us?”
Straining his jaw, he cleared his throat. “Dingane, I’m warning you. If you do not come inside now, I suggest you don’t come inside my store— ever again!”
He sighed and shrugged. “You hafe my addrress to mail my las’ check, baas.”
Exhaling, the store owner began pointing once more. “You need to leave these premises for loitering, Dingane! I can call the police on this matter and they can arrest you, and your two girlfriends, for that!” Then pointing at Lena and the other young woman, he vented, “The same applies to you both! I’ll call your bosses as well if both of you don’t remove all this nonsense!”
The owner stomped inside his store, glaring out the window as he picked up his phone.
Dingane joked, “All dis calling will only wear out dat little pointy finger of ‘is!”
Lena and Robert laughed.
Robert promptly announced, “Well, Lena, it looks like I won the bet. It took more than ten minutes before one of them brroke down!”
About the Author:
I am fortunate to have been trained by one the top ten writing teachers in the US, the late Leonard Bishop, and author of Dare to be a Great Writer. I owe my love of writing to him. How The Water Falls is my second novel. Although I’ve been writing since my childhood, I have a BA in history. I love studying history as much as wanting to evoke stories. I like to believe that after decades worth of introspection we have learned more wisely than something that happened yesterday, because what happened yesterday affects how we live today. Although I’ve been writing since childhood, I have a BA in history. I love studying history as much as wanting to evoke stories. I like to believe that after decades worth of introspection we have learned more wisely than something that happened yesterday, because what happened yesterday affects how we live today. That’s why I love history: To learn. To question. To redeem our humanity. Submitting to a moment in time allows us to remember, or to muse even, over our society’s past. Although writing can educate as well as entertain, yet what makes art incredibly amazing, to that of paintings, photographs, and music, it transposes emotion into another form of humanity, and therefore, it is our humanity which keeps all of us striving for an improved future. In addition to writing, I draw, paint, create graphic design, and am an amateur photographer.
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