In the sunny jacaranda-leafed garden of his Johannesburg home, six year old Martin Donally is king of a small and perfect world. It is 1948 and life is full of childish rhymes and his colourful extended family. There's exuberant Grandpa, who sings and races horses; chain-smoking Auntie Fee, who always sides with the ogres in fairy tales and who makes up her own stories about Martin's dead father; and above all, Georgie, the family's Zulu servant and Martin's confidant.
But this cosy world of certainty ends as Martin's tale turns to political and personal tragedy. He can't possibly foresee the defeat of the liberal government that will usher in a new era of bigotry and intolerance, not appreciate the significance of the fact that Dr Verwoerd, architect of apartheid, is a neighbour. And what is he to make of dour, racist Gordon, his mother's husband-to-be, a man who seems determined to shatter the carefree world of the Donallys for good...
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