The Miracle of Crocodile Flats

by Jenny Hobbs (Umuzi) ISBN 978-1-4152-0062-9

 

Subtitled An Affectionate Satire, Jenny Hobbs presents a miraculous South African story that shows Ubuntu in action.

 

Crocodile Flats is a dwindling rural community with an astonishingly diverse population, not only are various races represented but also most religious denominations.  Everyone is hanging on for survival and a government relocation scheme is impending. Then young Sweetness Moloi has a vision of Ma-Jesu, with a brown face and leaving the smell of peach blossoms and vanilla cupcakes in her wake.

 

After squabbling about the veracity of the vision, the seemingly opposing sides pull together to deal with the hordes of pilgrims and press that descend on the village. The miracle impacts the community as a whole and many individuals in it. There are too many stories to summarize but I loved how strong women like Tannie Charmaine and Sis’ Diliza, fed up with their anachronistic husbands, claim their rightful position.

 

Introducing the multitude of characters takes Hobbs over sixty pages and had me nearly putting the book aside. I suggest you skip the last chapter. It could be intended as the satirical icing on the cake but was too sugary for me and lessened the book’s punch.

 

In between that slow start and the last chapter Hobbs spins a wonderful story with tongue-in-cheek observations that had me chuckling with delight.

 

Josine Overdevest 

3.5/5

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