Troubled Waters

Set in 1974, Troubled Waters is an Namibian novel about two young people being shaken loose from their roots.
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Title: Troubled Waters
Author: Joseph Diescho
Genre: Namibia Novel
Publisher: Gamsberg Macmillan
Windhoek, Namibia 1993 (Reprint 2005)
ISBN 0868488100 / ISBN 0-86848-810-0
Softcover, 13 x 21 cm, 195 pages

About: Troubled Waters

In his first novel, Born of the Sun, Joseph Diescho told the typical story of a Namibian labouring man from childhood, through work in the mines and imprisonment, to the liberating commitment to active struggle. Now, three years after Independence, Diescho takes on the difficulties of reconciliation. Troubled Waters is a novel of transition. Set in 1974, the action focuses on two young people who are being shaken loose from their roots in family and tribe by the winds of political change. There is the Transvaaler Andries Malan, conscripted into the South African bush war against SWAPO and posted to teach Biblical Studies in a black school near Rundu. And there is Lucia, subtly alienated from the local community by her university training, whom he loves briefly and leaves with child when his tour is ended. Surrounding them, or surfacing in memories and dreams, are other border crossers: Mavis, the maid who was closer to Andries than his own mother but whose children he has never met; Frank the misfit Suidwester who honours the ways of the children he teaches; Moyo the herdboy who becomes a guerrilla, and, always present yet barely glimpsed as brief apparitions among the foliage of trees, the PLAN fighters. What is more, the order and dignity of tribal life have themselves been irretrievably fractured by the imposition of puppet "self-rule" on an ethnically defined Kavango "nation". A penetrating political understanding controls the narrative which centres on the troubled mind of Andries. "The Other" is imaginatively entered and observed without either sentimentality or rancour. This steady calm gaze is the most remarkable virtue of the beautifully told novel, Troubled Waters.

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