The Strangers of Braamfontein

Written by Onyeka Nwelue

Review written by Adrian Magson

Adrian Magson is the author of 23 spy and crime thrillers. His last book was ‘Smart Moves’ – a standalone – and his next is ‘Rocco and the Price of Lies’ (April 2019), the 6th in the Insp Lucas Rocco series set in rural France of the 1960s. More information: https://www.adrianmagson.com/


The Strangers of Braamfontein
Abibiman Publishing UK
RRP: £8.00
Released: July 26 2021
PBK

Osas, the central figure in this debut novel, is a young Nigerian painter, abandoned by his mother and escaping to crime-ridden Johannesburg in South Africa in search of a better life. He lands in Braamfontein and is bewildered when he finds himself among the drug dealers, scammers, prostitutes, human-traffickers, drunks, forgers and gangs, all eager to take what is not theirs.

He finds himself by force of survival an uneasy companion to a variety of these wrongdoers and their casual approach to death, violence and larceny, much of it led by the local controller, Papi, who sees himself as a minor crime lord but in effect is fooling himself and is no higher on the table of guaranteed survivors than anyone else.

This is a raw and brutal depiction of existence on the streets, where all life is cheap and easily snuffed out. Colourful, loud, eyeball-to-eyeball and relentlessly in your face, it’s a microcosm of Africa, its moving and desperate population seeking dreams of a golden future somewhere else – anywhere but where they are and preferably Europe.

But Europe isn’t merely a long way off in miles, and for most, the dreams are not likely to end well. But they keep searching because it’s all they have.

On one hand this is easy to read (in spite of the colourful patois dialogue, which took some figuring out here and there – but persistence is its own reward). On the other, following each of the characters and their stories is hard, because some do not end well. One glimmer in the dark is that out of this maelstrom of disparate characters, Osas find his mother… although not entirely as he would have wanted.

If you want a different book, with a spotlight on a world a long way from your own back door, this is well worth a try and will linger in the memory. You can’t help but keep your fingers crossed that for some, there is hope and a glimmer of light.



Home
Book Reviews
Features
Interviews
News
Columns
Authors
Blog
About Us
Contact Us

Privacy Policy | Contact Shots Editor

THIS WEBSITE IS © SHOTS COLLECTIVE. NOT TO BE REPRODUCED ELECTRONICALLY EITHER WHOLLY OR IN PART WITHOUT PRIOR PERMISSION OF THE EDITOR.