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THWALA - the abduction and forced marriage of a young girl to an older man in South African tribal custom... But could it also be a metaphor for the way in which colonialists took possession of the virgin nations of Africa, lusting after the mineral gifts of the soil, the possession of pristine countryside and innocent souls to be exploited in their quest for power?This love story across the divide of age and colour, an older white farmer to a beautiful young Xhosa girl, set in the last days of apartheid, bears testimony to so many South African lives, twisted by the ruthless hand of political imperatives. It takes the reader into the mysterious and powerful world of Xhosa culture: thwala; igqira, the diviner; ceremonial marriage;circumcision, and the way in which these sacred institutions have been eroded by the ambivalent influence of Western values.Can the meeting of these powerful forces really create the rainbow nation that South African people so deeply desire?Follow the lives of Nosuthu Stokwe and Andrew Christy from the awe-inspiring rural South African countryside to the urban sprawl of Kayelitsha and the metropolis of Cape Town, to try and appreciate the complexity of the challenges faced by South African people today.Can there be healing after "Thwala syndrome"?