By Sixolile Mbalo
This is a small, devastating story about a single, enormous event, addressed by the author to the bullet lodged in her neck. In speaking to “her” bullet, Mbalo writes herself into hearing range of a wilfully – and defensively – deaf world.
One is left breathless with gladness that she has been able to perform this act of narration as both belligerent defiance towards her attacker and as a desperate scratching for what meaning, if any, might be retrieved from pointless, insouciant, casual acts of unspeakable inhumanity.
The “before” story has warmth. The “after” story is all the more chilling when you consider how many men and women around us have been similarly brutalised, and must find a way to make sense of the survivor’s life.
Antjie Krog writes a measured afterword that provides some context and insight not available from the primary narrative. – Karin Schimke
- This review first appeared in the Cape Times.