The story of five generations of Indian labourers

2008-01-10 00:00

Ronnie Govender’s highly successful novel, Song of the Atman, has become the first South African novel to be published for wide distribution in India and has recently been released in major book stores all over that country under the HarperCollins imprint.

In India, the title is Black Chin, White Chin — which Govender has admitted he thought sounded somewhat corny. But Mukherjee said he felt the word “Atman” was overused in India, and might give the impression that the book was a religious work. Song of the Atman is based on the life story of Chin Govender, Govender’s maternal uncle, who returns home after nearly 20 years to his estranged family in Cato Manor in the forties, having been a penniless wine steward in East London and later becoming the first black owner of a hotel in District Six. It is the story of five generations of former indentured Indian labourers.

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