A poignant memoir
she will always be different.
Friedman’s observations are acute and amusing, but they all hint at the casual cruelty and suffering of the time.
The local albino woman disparagingly called “witmeid”; the eight-year-old child in her class who died from a brain tumour; the torpid hymns all Sunday drifting over from the NG Kerk where most of the town is gathered, “swollen with the pleasure of being right, white and Afrikaans”.
Her mother tells her not to be embarrassed about the “Jew church” on the wrong side of town, but that is what her friends call the synagogue, and Jennifer doesn’t want to be a good Jewish child or “a good woman more precious than rubies”.
She wants to be like her friends and join the Voortrekkers, have shiny pictures of pink-cheeked Jesus, know what happens in the children’s service. On the way home from school, she also witnesses policemen beating prisoners, and screams at them to stop. “You’re next, you filthy little commie Jew,” they reply. “We’re coming to get you!”
Eventually, Jennifer is sent to boarding school in Cape Town, and the idyll of life with her extended family and Sandy her dog ends.
– Sandra Laurence