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Reviewed by Scott Skipper for Readers' Favorite
South Africa was a police state as brutal and oppressive as any. How the Water Falls tells the story of civil war and the collapse of apartheid through the viewpoints of several diverse characters. Lena was half Bantu, half Xhosa. While attending school she wrote articles and rallied for change. Joanne was of English extraction and worked for an English language newspaper. She was surprised to take a call from Jared, a Boer, who was also a notorious disgraced soldier. Lena’s efforts earned her a beating and gang rape in police headquarters. The revelation that Jared gave to Joanne, which censorship quashed for five years, not only unveiled a massacre of women and children, but also implicated a high-ranking police official, Jared’s brother. Unfortunately, the fallout from it tore apart the lives and families of everyone involved.
How the Water Falls unmasks the bloody state of affairs when the majority of a population is subjugated to the very brink of slavery. Without rights, the black tribes remained banished to squalid, impoverished townships, having to seek white approval to move or even to remain with family. The horrors described in this chilling account are hard for the mind of a twenty-first century American to comprehend. K.P. Kollenborn’s prose is unique, and the South African dialect is at times a trifle dense. The reader is, however, compelled by the sheer scope of the mayhem contained herein to ride the wave of madness to its uncertain conclusion. Historical fiction ought always to educate. The message here is a vital warning about the perils of repressive government that has been ignored time and time again throughout human history.