Book: Panorama by Pieter-Dirk Uys

By Jane Vorster
25 October 2013

In the '80s entertainer Pieter-Dirk Uys made waves internationally with Panorama, a play set on Robben Island which examined white South Africans' fears and prejudices. Now he has revisited the work.

Panorama

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By Pieter-Dirk Uys

Missing Ink (R190)

In the '80s entertainer Pieter-Dirk Uys made waves internationally with Panorama, a play set on Robben Island which examined white South Africans' fears and prejudices. Now he has revisited the work, updated it and extended it into a novel that weaves together past and present.

Sibi Makhale takes her two young sons on an excursion to Robben Island. It's her attempt to find closure. Her father, Alfred Makhale, was a political prisoner who died on the island. She visited him there in the days before his death and during the trip had a rather surprising encounter with two Afrikaans teachers, Karin and Rosa, who worked on the island teaching the warders' children.

The novel’s power lies in its structure. The bits from the '80s are told from the view of the teachers while the current-day island is all filtered through Sibi with what she sees triggering memories of her previous visit. And so past and present collide along with explosive results – and a whole lot of unexpected humour. JANE VORSTER

Pieter-Dirk Uys with his new novel, which is available in print and e-book formats. Picture by Stefan Hurter

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