Where the River Runs Gold

I would have enjoyed Sita Brahmachari’s Where the River Runs Gold a lot more if I’d properly understood it. And I am unsure what happened at the end. I have two theories.

This is a dystopia featuring some of the fears we are already facing in our lives. What if the bees stop doing their job of pollinating? Twins Shifa and Themba live in Kairos City – which I assume to be loosely based on somewhere in the Middle East. When they turn eleven they have to go to a farm where they will work for – I think – five years, pollinating crops. This is supposedly the only way the world will survive.

Not everyone does this, however. Just the poor.

There is much that is beautiful here; the family’s love for each other, for plants and their hopes for the future. As with any dystopia there is also much that is ugly and dangerous and upsetting. Because it’s so wrong, so unfair.

Sita Brahmachari, Where the River Runs Gold

Arriving on the farm, they discover things are not quite as people at home had been made to believe. To save themselves they have to learn to shut up and to bide their time until the right moment to escape comes. If it ever does.

This topic is so important. I just wish I’d understood the world Shifa and Themba belong to. And I wonder how I was meant to interpret the end.

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