She passed away over 12 years ago. Her name is Dalene Matthee and she was born in 1938 and she died in 2005. Her language of writing was the Afrikaner language, but her books have been translated in many other languages. From origin she was a musician, she worked in the field of teaching music, but at the same time she started in another area of the field of arts: writing.
When Matthee published this book she already had a number of publications to her name. This book is set in the shadows of the forthcoming end to white rule in South Africa. Freedom from every citizen of the country is looking at the horizon and the future is nearing at an unknown speed. What will be the future of all those white folks who had staunchly defended the world of apartheid and its accompanying racism?
Araminta Rossouw is one of those white people who looks at the future and wonders what the place will be for her in the near future? Will it be South Africa or will she travel to Europe? She is the daughter of a reformed pastor, who was once told to go and preach for the commies. Araminta now works at a real estate office in George (where Matthee once lived). One day a couple that has fled Zimbabwe walks into her office, they want to buy a house. In order to pay for their future house they have smuggled diamonds into South Africa. These sparkles are uncut and illegal. She accepts these diamonds an tells the couple that she will find a way to sell these sparkles. She contact an uncle who refers her to an illegal trader in Cape Town.
In this way Araminta starts a career in the illegal diamond trade, for she sees the money that she can get in this trade as a much needed income to fund her plan to leave the country and start life at another continent. Her income at her work depends to a large extent on the provision she makes on every house she manages to sell. But the house market is in a slump, for the future is bleak in the opinion of many white folks.
It is clear that Matthee did thorough research into the world of diamonds. She mixes this information in her story. Another mix in this book is the history of South Africa, the attitude of the British, the apartheid situation and more current issues. In this way her book at times reads like a political and historical pamphlet. I think this book could have done with less of this second mix. Let the story speak for itself.
Dalene Matthee – Brug van die esels – 1992