Leopard’s Leap Review: Unconfessed by Yvette Christiansë

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The only fiction in this novel is the fact that it will not leave you untouched. (paradox)

A lie is always disguised in a truth and the truth may just as well be a lie and that none of that really matters in the end … for it will also end … or does it really?

Sila was brought into this world by the pen of Yvette Christiansë, as a child, and left to our world in the beginning of the 1800's. Sila the child, Sila van Mosbiek, Sila the young woman (protected by her kind), Sila, (unprotected) the slave to her master and many other men. Sila van den Kaap, Mother of many and Mother of none to some – Sila the murderer, Sila the prisoner, Sila, just Sila in the end.

Sila has endured so much. She endured the best of the worst and the worst of the inhumane. Her close friends; Johannes and Spaasie, who tried to protect her. She accepted "Ma" as her slave-mother. Oumiesies and Theron. Van der Wat and Henckle, they all tried to take Sila from herself … the work, the men, the babies, town prison, Robben Island, the stones, the ocean, the mainland, her yearning for her children and the freedom through Baro's visits … her longing for her own mother and father in her suppressed childhood memories back in her own country. All this, and in the end she was heartbroken.

Freedom comes when the body is laid to rest and the soul is set free. She believed that. A mother that saw two of her own babies been laid to rest. She took the light from her beloved son, Baro, and set his soul free. Yes, she did! She sacrificed her own freedom, to become a condemned murderer, to a long life on Robben Island.

There, freedom means having no fear. There, freedom did not come with the nightly visits from the guards, but lived in dreams across the waters. Freedom lived in the visit of the passing souls that came to her; Baro, Johannes, came to her while she balanced on the brink of her own sanity, fighting with reality. It's all a fight for realistic, emotional and spiritual freedom, far away from the salt water and the stones around her heart.

To me, slavery was never a right with a wrong, nor a wrong with a right. It's a living history and for this part, Sila will continue to be enslaved – but it will be in the hearts of the reader where she would find her ultimate freedom as she would continue to live in our memories – even if it's only for a while … until the next reader will pick her out of her own captivity.

Her silence will leave whispers in your heart, filled with echoes from all other women who have lost their freedom, not only during slavery in the 1800's, but also their 21st century sisters, enslaved in the wrongfulness against their womanhood.

For those readers who remained untouched by this novel; Sila has the last word: (Quote) "Julle fokken mense maak my fokken siek!"

To Yvette: "Sjo!"

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