Bracelet of the Morning

They came to the Cape Colony in their thousands

Novels of Africa seriesA Boer on a remote farm near the Orange river had brought home to his children a few pretty pebbles to play with. Among them was a glistening diamond. It was 1870 and the diamond rush was on.

Boer farmers and their families from southern Africa with ox-wagons filled with all their possessions. Itinerants from the farthest reaches of the world escaping the depression and aftermath of the Franco-Prussian war, carrying little more than toothbrush, razor and a photograph of a loved one, all lured to the colony by the promise of riches beyond their wildest dreams.

˃˃˃ Charles Atherstone

is a threadbare poster artist from a Brighton carnival and an unsuspecting dreamer. He joins the rush, only to find on arrival at Cape Town that he has insufficient funds to pay the coach fare to the river diggings, a journey of some seven hundred miles.

˃˃˃ Fleetwood Erskine Tucker

is also in the colony to make his fortune, but with more creative means than the traditional methods of the diggers which, in his opinion, required an unnecessary excess of perspiration and blisters.

˃˃˃ In the Kalahari desert

Their often hilarious adventures in the rugged wilderness of the Kalahari, their frenetic search for diamonds along with all the other hopefuls, their escapades with women, ox-wagons, wild animals and Boers forge their lives and characters. As an artist, Charles attracts the attention of some elderly Bushmen, who view his drawings of animals with awe. Diamonds have no value to them. Their simple lives are filled with more meaningful values and tradition. A tradition told within their art, and the tragic story of the last Bushman painter in the Dragon mountains.

It is a friendship that will earn Charles their greatest honour, and ultimately save a precious life.

 

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