Centred on the fabulous diamond beaches on Africa's West Coast, harsh realities impact on the seemingly idyllic pattern of life in a deeply rural village. Key characters, Hafeni and Abed, are wrenched from their community to seek work. The men's arduous journey across the dessicated veld introduces their reality-distant and remote. A troubled German teenager, Alex, experiences the beauty of the wilderness, and unwittingly undergoes a transition into manhood. As a prelude to the ending of the drought, an enchanting, unusual story plays out with a visit by the mythical rainbird. The men settle into the alien and unfamiliar routine of life at the mine, where an undercurrent of diamond theft-like fine desert sand-pervades everything. Hafeni remains steadfast and committed to his mission. Abed, however, falls victim to temptation. The novel reaches across cultural divides, revealing drastically different worlds. Bessie, child of a domestic worker, grew up in a suburb near Windhoek, privileged to receive an education. Against all odds, she makes her dream come true. Sharing her success is engaging and meaningful. Betrayals, however, turn her life upside down. Fortuitous circumstances find her working at the mine. Too late Bessie discovers that she is harbouring a diamond thief, and pays a terrible price. Intrigue and ingenuity provide compelling suspense in the battle of wits between Security and the diamond thieves. The villagers meanwhile experience a miraculous change in circumstances. When the men return to the mine for a second contract, their wives-Nala and Jaloo-suffer a traumatic incident. They endure the arduous walk back to the village, bound by shame and secrecy, and vengeful murder is the outcome. 'Walking with Secrets' offers unique views on aspects of the arcane world of diamonds. It is a captivating human story, sensitively told, with deeply poignant insights.
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