Endings and Beginnings

Redi Tlhabi, warm-hearted, charismatic and loved throughout South Africa is as well known for her 702 and Cape Talk radio show as she is for her TV performances and Sunday Times newspaper column. In this astonishing debut, Endings and beginnings, she makes the painful journey back to her death-marred childhood, a journey in which she eventually finds peace and allows her demons to rest.

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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

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