Fiela's Child


Fiela's Child is a South African drama written by Dalene Matthee and published in 1985. The book was originally written in Afrikaans under the name Fiela se Kind, and was later translated into English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Hebrew, Icelandic and Sinhalese, among others.

The story is set in the forests of Knysna, South Africa in the nineteenth century, and tells the story of a Cape Coloured woman, Fiela Komoetie, and her family who adopt's an abandoned white child Benjamin Komoetie at tender age of three found outside her door. Nine years later, census-takers come to count the people living in the Long Kloof. They are shocked that a white child is living with a Colored family and somehow come to the conclusion that the white child must be the child lost by the van Rooyens who live in the Forest. Fiela is distraught that her child is being taken away and travels to speak with the magistrate which fails because the magistrate is a white supremist. The magistrate warns Fiela that if she interferes any more she will be dealt with. child is taken away from her and forced to live with the van Rooyens who make beams from wood. His living conditions with the white people are much worse than with his Coloured family. Elias van Rooyen continuously abuses the family and everyone is thoroughly miserable. The child, Benjamin Komoetie, is forced to take up the name of Lukas van Rooyen and falls in love with his apparent sister, Nina van Rooyen. The climax of the story unfolds a few years later when the boy forces his "mother's" guilt to confess that he is not actually her son and he returns to Fiela and her family, whom he chooses as his own.

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