Simultaneously a family memoir and a slice of South African history, this book is that rare thing: a beleaguered community in turbulent times seen through a young couple’s struggle for self-realisation and fulfillment. It’s about the particular hurdles that face an Indian/Coloured family in their search to find a more dignified space in which to live, grow and thrive.
Starting with the grandfathers −the Indian deck-passenger who reaches Cape Town in 1914, sells fruit off a street handcart and ten years later establishes a silk bazaar. And the illegitimate child of a daughter of the Italian House of Orsini, born in secrecy, who was sent to a convent in Cape Town and raised as a foster son of a coloured fishing family.
Through the journeys of three generations Carim’s story offers insights into aspects of the lives of ordinary people during the transition years from colonialism to apartheid. The style is engaging, the dialogue lucid and authentic; rewarding the reader with vivid action and imagery. Its title Coolie, Come Out and Fight! is devastatingly honest and redolent of South Africa in the 1950s and 60s.