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Endings & Beginnings: A Story of Healing
by Redi Tlhabi
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"When Redi Tlhabi is eleven years old, two years after her father's death, she meets the handsome, charming and smooth, Mabegzo. A rumoured gangster, murderer and rapist, he is a veritable 'jack roller' of the neighbourhood. Against her family's wishes, she develops a strong connection to him. Tlhabi herself doesn't understand why she is drawn to Mabegzo and why, at eleven, she feels a brokenness that only Mabegzo can fix. 'Endings & Beginnings' is Tlhabi's emotional journey back into her past to finally humanise this man whose hollowness mirrored her own and who was hated and abhorred by so many when he was alive. Through interviews and deep emotional conversations with his family, friends and those who knew him, Redi finally gets to fit together the pieces of the puzzle that was Mabegzo. Her revelations do not in any way excuse who and what he was, but they go a long way in shedding light on the scourge that is violence in our societies and why young black men are consumed by anger." -- Back cover."In this astonishing debut, Endings and beginnings, she [Redi Tlhabi] makes the painful journey back to her death-marred childhood, a journey in which she eventually finds peace and allows her demons to rest. Redi grew up in the '80s in Orlando, Soweto, with thoughts and emotions so intense they nearly swallowed up her childhood. It was a time when Soweto was under siege from two forces - apartheid and endemic, normalized crime. It was not strange or unusual to refer to so-and-so as 'the rapist' or so-and-so as 'the killer'. It was also at this time that her father - her hero - was violently murdered, his body discovered on the street, with one eye removed. The perpetrators were never found, and the neighbourhood continued to talk about how he had to be buried without his eye. And then Redi meets Mabegzo: handsome, charming and smooth; Mabegzo, rumoured gangster, murderer and rapist, a veritable 'jack-roller' of the neighbourhood. Against her family's wishes she develops a strong and sometimes uncomfortable attraction to him. Redi herself doesn't understand why she is drawn to Mabegzo and why, at eleven, she feels the way that she does for this man known to many as a menace. Then he too is found lying dead in a pool of blood, two years after the death of her father. Redi has to remind herself to stay sane. Endings and beginnings is Redi's quest to find out the truth about the circumstances surrounding her father's death. As an adult she visits his grave and decides to find the people that killed her father and ask them why. She also goes on a quest to finally humanise Mabegzo who was hated and abhorred by so many when he was alive. She visits and speaks to his family, friends and neighbours and pieces together the life of this man who came fleetingly through her life but whose presence she would feel for a long time to come" -- Publisher's description.
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