Inja Moses Mazibuko is shorthand for the woefully uninformed savage face of semi-urban South Africa, especially that segment of the population that seems to wear this blissful ignorance like a badge of honour.
He’s a hired gun who does the dirty work of his political principal without asking questions. He’s trigger-happy and dispenses of bodies with the same ease and regularity the normal world does with unfinished food.
We’re introduced to him while he’s on assignment in Cape Town to eliminate yet another statistic – Ben Baker, who knows too much about Mazibuko’s boss, the Chief. To make a clean sweep, he must also finish off Baker’s mistress, Rosie Dell. But the thing is, in the car Mazibuko has to force off a cliff, Rosie is not alone. As the car plunges down, Rosie and her two children die horrendously while hubby and father, journalist Robert, miraculously survives.
After being shocked into a rude awakening by Mazibuko’s barbarism in the opening chapters of the book, the racy novel actually picks up pace when Dell begins the cat-and-mouse chase with Inja. On Dell’s side is his father, Bobby Goodbread, a military man with a shocking history of gore. For the purposes of the hunt – and in attempt to evade Mazibuko – father and son, who until now, have not seen eye to eye, team up.
This is such a typically South African book. Smith writes convincingly about Cape Town, where he relocated to from Johannesburg. He does even better about KwaZulu/Natal, the backyard of his major character. The taxi killings, where Mazibuko owns a stake, are so believable. His own madness about his need to rid himself of his full-blown Aids is another South African story. Even when he loses a [fourth] wife to the dreaded disease, he takes a nubile girl as a replacement to, what, find a cure! Ultimately, when his young bride Sunday stabs him, and a flurry of bullets fly, Mazibuko does not get to consummate his marriage.
Well done again, Smith.
© makatilemedia 11/2011