Meaning in its dictionary form “the dislike of foreigners” and “racial intolerance”, the word xenophobia surged indelibly, brutally through the socio-political circuits of South Africa and into our psychically wounded body politic in 2008. Since those torrid times we have, of course, had to witness the massacre of Marikana, while the plight of refugees and asylum seekers crossing our borders and their safety seem to have been usurped or at least overshadowed by questions around the legality and authority of conduct by the SAPS.
Concurrently, as a lecturer in creative writing and English literature at the University of the Western Cape, Meg Vandermerwe would no doubt have followed the increasing awareness of “otherness” manifesting in recent times, not only on the street but in newspapers, magazines, talk shows and academic discourse and study. After her well-received collection of short stories, This Place I Call Home, was published in 2013, Vandermerwe has now produced Zebra Crossing, a novel arguably inspired by the xenophobic attacks that took place in this country around the time that the Soccer World Cup was hosted in 2010.
- Zebra Crossing by Meg Vandermerwe
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