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REVIEW | Struggles of the January women laid bare in Nozuko Siyotula's novel Christopher

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Author Nozuko Siyotula. (Photo: Supplied)
Author Nozuko Siyotula. (Photo: Supplied)

BOOK: Christopher by Nozuko Siyotula (Jacana).

Vuyo Aitken (née Fani) is a descendent of the legendary Theodore "Groot Pa Katjie" January, the prodigal grandson of the Miya clan. Theodore's grandfather was a younger twin who was meant to be smothered, according to custom, in order to avoid inheritance disputes. Instead, his mother arranged for him to be smuggled away to Makhanda, where he was raised by a coloured woman named Constance January.

When Theodore was 16, he journeyed to his grandfather's people, where he was able to prove his identity. His grandmother, Ma Miya, had deteriorated mentally, and because her son had not sired any boys, no one remained to take care of her and bury her upon her death. This gave the chief reason to allow Theodore to set up a home on his ancestral land along the Thina River, where he married Mam' Bhele. His descendants were allowed to carry the Miya name along with January.

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