The Scattering
“When I set out to write this book, I thought about how horrible tragedies like war are often given to us in numbers. The mortality rate in the concentration camps was between 45–75%, with 12–18 people dying every day. You feel war and tragedy in your heart when it is brought down to the individual life. That’s what I wanted. I wanted to create a novel that made war real through individual stories.” — Lauri Kubuitsile

Kubuitsile’s deeply moving novel follows the fate of two young women, both caught in the jarring realities of colonial wars waged across southern Africa at the turn of the twentieth century. With a flair for depicting the human spirit and its resilience, she writes of Tjipuka, a victim of German deception and atrocities against the Herero people living in what is now Namibia, and Riette, the misfortunate daughter of a Boer farmer caught in the British-Boer conflict in Transvaal, now northeastern South Africa.

Tjipuka, the Herero woman, marries and has a child with the love of her life. Thinking German soldiers have killed her husband, she flees with her son to the desert, to get away from the Germans. Riette, a bright Boer woman, has passed her nursing exams and plans to escape the strict rules of her family, until her father forces her to marry an older man with two daughters. When her husband is taken captive by the British, she resolves to save herself and her stepchildren from being caught in the crosshairs of civil war. Through Kubuitsile’s evocative, sensitive writing, we become one with these women as they are forced to make impossible choices.

The Scattering won the Best International Fiction prize at the 2017 Sharjah International Book Fair, the world's third-largest book fair, in the United Arab Emirates.
Reviews
“Lauri Kubuitsile’s Riette and Tjipuka are two of the strongest characters in modern African literature, and their journeys through war, loss, terror, and heartache bring to life the Herero people at the turn of the last century in what is now Namibia. The Scattering will leave readers with a clearer understanding of the first genocide of the 20th century, and will take them deeply into the lives of the people who lived, loved, and survived.” — Kimmy Beach, author of Nuala: A Fable

The Scattering impresses on several fronts. Through the life stories of two seemingly insignificant women, Kubuitsile links two seminal events of the early twentieth century history in Southern Africa. Two fates out of millions, but they personify the remarkable resilience of women throughout history . . . The Scattering is one of those superb historical novels which live on in the reader, simultaneously sounding a warning and shining the light of hope.” — Cape Times

“Kubuitsile has crafted an ambitious, powerful and poignant historical novel that brings to life a very important period.” — Tendai Huchu, author of The Hairdresser of Harare