In the shattered fantasy of rainbow-nation South Africa, there are many uncomfortable truths. Among these are family secrets – the legacies of traumas in the homes and bones of ordinary South African families.
In this debut collection, feminist and activist Kelly-Eve Koopman grapples with the complex beauty and brutality of the everyday as she struggles with her family legacy. She tries unsuccessfully to forget her father – a not-so-prominent journalist and anti-apartheid activist, desperately mentally ill and expertly emotionally abusive – who has recently disappeared, leaving behind a wake of difficult memories. Mesmerisingly, Koopman wades through the flotsam and jetsam of generations, among shipwrecks and sunken treasures, in an attempt at familial and collective healing.
Sometimes tragic, sometimes hilarious, she faces up to herself as a brown, newly privileged “elder millennial”, caught between middle-class aspirations and social justice ideals. An artist, a daughter, a queer woman in love, she is in pursuit of healing, while trying to lose those last 5 kilograms, to the great disappointment of her feminist self.