A return to Chimoia in Mozambique:
The town, she knows, is no longer named Vila Pery in honour of the Governor João Pery de Lind any longer, now the sign says Chimoia and in truth it was always Chimoia on the monte alto or Manica plateau to everyone except the settlers. Chimoia, named for the elephant hunter and son of Moyo, the burial place of the hunter Chimoia whose name meant ‘little heart’, a child carried up high in his mother’s belly and named for the little heart beating so close to her own. The Arab traders came up this way through the Zemba Mountains centuries ago and planted the tall palms known as Borassus as sentinels to mark their routes. Chimoia within spitting distance of Mount Bêngo once known as the Cabeca da Velho rock, the ‘old man’s head’. When it rains, the rain splashes in white torrents down the rock and from a distance it looks as if the old man is weeping, despairing face upturned to the sky.
Where Brontë deliberately leaves Heathcliff’s racial origins uncertain (picked up from the streets of Liverpool, he is variously described as “a dark-skinned gypsy in aspect”, “a little Lascar [an East Indian sailor], or an American or Spanish castaway”), the legacy of a mixed white and Afro-Caribbean descent is central to Phillips’s reimagining. That said, The Lost Child turns from direct confrontation of big issues like race relations and problems of social exclusion and prejudice. Public events pass almost unmarked: “‘After Notting Hill,’ said Julius, ‘it’s just one problem after another.’ ‘And the police?’ ‘The police and the teddy boys are as bad as each other’”. The date has to be several years after 1958, but how much later? Major themes are treated to the same withdrawal of emphasis that leaves each individual life a struggle for engagement.
- No student should be forced to learn or communicate in Afrikaans and all classes must be available in English.
- The institutional culture at Stellenbosch University needs to change radically and rapidly to reflect diverse cultures and not only White Afrikaans culture.
- The University publically needs to acknowledge and actively remember the central role that Stellenbosch and its faculty played in the conceptualisation, implementation and maintenance of Apartheid.
Lecturers at the English-speaking Victoria College (now University of Stellenbosch), 1907. The language wars of more than a century.