New book alert! Moederland: Nine Daughters of South Africa by Cato Pedder

Moederland: Nine Daughters of South Africa is a fascinating, unflinching and forensic work of non-fiction by Cato Pedder, the great-granddaughter of Jan Smuts, the South African prime minister responsible for heralding the age of apartheid.

Moederland is a courageous and modern appraisal of what it means to be descended from the people who created the ultra-racist apartheid system in South Africa.

Illuminating its turbulent history through the lives of her female ancestors, it is a history of South Africa like no other, told from the perspective of women long silenced in the historical narrative.

It asks, what were they doing while white supremacy was constructed?

In Moederland, Pedder travels the centuries from the 1600s, when Cape Town was a remote outpost of the Dutch East India Company, to the kraal of a Zulu king in the 1800s before doubling back to Europe and then culminating with the English Quaker aunt who defies apartheid to marry across the colour line. As anti-racist campaigners call out the statue of Jan Smuts in Parliament Square, Cato painstakingly excavates the long-forgotten life stories of the women of her prehistory, unpacking the legacy of her Afrikaans heritage and bringing their collective shame into the light.

Moederland brilliantly sits at the borderline between personal history and memoir, and shares themes with The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal, The Wife’s Tale by Aida Edemariam and Maybe Esther by Katja Petrowskaja, both of which use unknown forebears to throw new light on the troubled past. It will also appeal to readers of Damon Galgut’s Booker Prize winning novel, The Promise.

About the author

Cato Pedder was born into the Quaker Clark shoe family and is a former newspaper reporter with 15 years of experience in South Africa and the UK, including at the Johannesburg Star and The Sun. She graduated from Cambridge University in English Literature and holds further degrees in African Studies from SOAS and Creative Writing from Kingston University, where she won the academic prize. She is a published poet, was born in California and brought up in England. She has lived in South Africa and returns there regularly.

Categories Non-fiction South Africa

Tags Cato Pedder Jonathan Ball Publishers Moederland New books New releases

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