A beautiful story told bij … well, by whom?
Is this the story of Evelien Groenink?
Or is it the story of Prudence? A young woman whom hails from the Transkei and who enters the white world of South Africa. In the end she finds her own way. She tells about her grandfather, school, her relatives, her mother who worked in the big city. She follows in the footsteps of her mother and travels to the big city, at first she stays with her mother, later she marries a man with whom she lives, later she divorces, for he left her alone in the end.

Prudence Mbewu tells about her struggle to be an independent modern woman, who can fight the red tape she encounters, even in the post-apartheid years. Her most important struggle is probably the one to have a balanced relationship with white folks. White people who ignore her. White people who want to make her dependent through their good deeds. Shje gets inmvolved with a couple with Dutch and Asian roots. The lady of the house is Evelien (Groenink?), Evelien helps Prudence but at the same time Prudence wants to be independent. She makes use of Evelien to advance in her life. Evelien and her husband have a small daughter, Vani, who is a sign of hope for Prudence. ‘She is proff that we can grow towards oneanother.’

Prudence herself is also a writer, she writes columns for the magazine (ZAM). Why did not she write this book herself? I do not know. Does it show something about the relationship between Evelyn/Evelien and Prudence? Or is the chance for a bestseller in The Netherlands higher with a Dutch name on the cover? Or is Evelien a better writer? 

Evelien Groenink (verteld door Prudence Mbewu) – Bij de blanken is het beter – Amsterdam 2010 – 191 pages

bij de blanken is het beter

Published by


I enjoy reading about Africa. New books. Old books. By African writers. By non-African writers. Novel. History. Travel. Biographies. Autobiographies. Politics. Colonialism. Poetry.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.