review TIKKOP

Tik is the name given to a certain drug (chrystal meth) in South Africa.
Tikkop is the name of a user or addict, who uses Tik.

The Dutch writer Adriaan van Dis (1946) has a long history with South Africa. During his study Dutch language, he spent a year (1973/4) at Stellenbosch University. He wrote books with strong ties to this southern country. He made documentaries in this country, torn by apartheid and its heritage. The surname Van Dis is the surname of his mother. He did not take the surname of his father Mulder.
In this book the writer revisits South Africa. The scene is a small fishing community, separated by dunes from the more affluent part of the wider community, inhabited by white folks. Donald, son of a staunch supporter of apartheid, is a medical doctor. During the years of apartheid he lived in France where he worked for the underground movement to overthrow the apartheid regime. He married a French lady, who in this book has travelled to France to visit relatives and to live in a more peaceful surroundings. Marten Mulder (!) comes to visit his old comrade. He also was involved in the anti-apartheid struggle during his student days. He lives in Paris, where Donald en Marten met. During his studies Marten Mulder travelled to Stellenbosch University (!) to study the Afrikaner language, but his main aim was to get information on military targets. He stayed in a house where also military men had settled. During their time together in the present Donald and Marten visit Stellenbosch, looking at the old spots. They also visit the parents of Catherine, The parent were old fashioned white winery people, while their daughter studied art history in Paris and was part of the anti-apartheid struggle.

Donald still continues to resist the powers in South Africa, be it on a smaller scale. In his village he supports people when they want to write to the local government to find justice. At the same time he is part and parcel of the white community in the better part of the village. He pays school fees for Hendrik, who is a tikkop. He wants to give the boy a chance, an opportunity to show and hone his skills. Hendrik is also involved in dealing tik.
Marten en Donald talk about their involvement in the olden days. Now they look at it from different points of view. Has it been worthwhile? Have structures been changed or has there been just a change of the colour guard? Was it an adventure for the whites? Was it different for the blacks and the coloured in those days and in the present days?

Adriaan van Dis has written an intruiging novel. The dilemmas are being lived out in the encounters of Marten en Donald. At first Marten lives in a separate house, later on he moves in with Donald, due to damage to his temporary abode. His neighbour at the small cottage helps the local people when disaster strikes the fishing community. The sea is a harsh mistress. How will these two communities survive? Will there be, one time, just one community, where people live together?

Adriaan van Dis
uitgeverij Augustus 2010

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

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