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Fiction Friday: Read Diane Awerbuck and Alex Latimer’s “Sweet Water” on FunDza

Cabin FeverThe Space RaceFunDza, an online mobi-library of free stories for young South Africans, has shared a story by Diane Awerbuck and Alex Latimer.

Awerbuck, who was shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing this year, and Latimer, a children’s book author and illustrator who released his first novel, The Space Race, last year, co-authored “Sweet Water” for the project.

The story centres around David, a boy from Ocean View in Cape Town, who is juggling end-of-school and career woes, when mysterious disappearances begin to occur in the neighbourhood.

Read the story:

David is worried about the kids who have been disappearing in Ocean View: he doesn’t think it’s the gangs, like everyone says. Also, he has to pass tomorrow’s final exam or he’ll be forced to work on his hated stepfather’s fishing boat. Just to make everything harder, there’s something weird in the darkness outside his room in Neptune Court. It doesn’t want David to pass matric. It wants him dead.

Sweet Water – Chapter 1

It was standing upright in the darkness behind the black bins at the back of Neptune Court. David couldn’t see what it was, but it made his eyes water even from where he sat on the rickety fire escape, waiting for his stepfather’s voice to die down to a murmur.

He was out there again, with the same problem on his mind: he just couldn’t go on the boats next year. He wasn’t like his stepbrother Kendell, who boasted that he had never read a book. David loved reading. His oupa had taught him before he had even gone to school. This was David’s big chance to get out of Ocean View – the only place on the peninsula that you couldn’t see the sea.

At school old Miss Appel called him aside after every test and told him that he had potential – that he would do great things. She said he only needed to focus, work hard, and look beyond the cracked walls and the graffiti of this rotting suburb that the government had forgotten. Miss Appel was the only person who actually spoke to David like he was a human being, someone with feelings and dreams of his own. Just like Oupa used to talk to him, back when he was alive. How could David let Miss Appel down – go back to Sweetwater High on Monday and tell her he was going to be a fisherman like all the other men in the Fish Hoek valley? The idea made him sick.

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