Rehana Rossouw’s unique voice gives life and drama to this family saga.
It is the story of the Fourie family, residents of Hanover Park in the Cape Flats during the height of the struggle era. The main characters include Magda, the churchgoing mother, who doesn’t see what’s going on in front of her; Neville, the concerned and loving but not always effectual father; Suzette, the oldest daughter, who is bound and determined to get away and make a better life for herself via a career in modelling; Nicky, the smart and sensitive middle child, who proves herself capable of making unselfish choices; and Anthony, the naïve and doomed son, who gets caught up with a gang and meets a sad end.
In What Will People Say? the setting is everything, and the author doesn’t stint on the details of the world her characters inhabit. Readers who have never set foot in Hanover Park will feel they are there, and those who know the place will nod in recognition of the sensory details the author loads into her writing. Nor does the author shy away from the difficult issues faced by those living in this marginalised and disadvantaged community, which came into being as a result of the forced removals from Cape Town. How these issues affect the members of a particular family and their relationships with one another are the focus of the author’s close-up lens.
Generously spiced with Cape Flats slang; lots of vivid and gritty description that give an authentic feel to the story; plenty of plot – the writer draws us in and makes us curious about what will happen next; and very human characters we come to care about.