How the Water Falls

How the Water Falls

by K.P. Kollenborn


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On the fringes of a civil war arise a kaleidoscope of stories of abuse, power, betrayal, sex, love, and absolution, all united by the failings of a dying government. Set in the backdrop during the last years of South Africa's apartheid, How the Water Falls is a psychological thriller that unfolds the truth and deception of the system's victims, perpetrators, and unlikely heroes. The two main characters, one white, Joanne- a reporter, the other black, Lena- a banned activist, have their lives continuously overlap through the people they know during a thirteen-year period and eventually become friends as a result of their interviews together. Joanne personifies the need to question and investigate apartheid's corruption from a white person's perspective. Although her intentions begin with idealism, no matter how naïve, as the years pass while the system is failing, she crosses the threshold of what it means to be caught up inside the belly of the beast, especially after crossing paths with the Borghost brothers. Lena, who is inspired by her predecessors, such as Steve Biko and Nelson Mandela, is among the minority of black women to peacefully battle for equality, even if her struggle is indicative of sacrificing her health and safety. Hans Borghost is Johannesburg's commissioner of police who, like all those before, had a military background before pursuing a law enforcement career. Violent, manipulative, and controlling, he incarnates the image of South Africa's perpetrators. Jared Borghost is the younger brother of Hans and, like his brother, has a military background, but unlike Hans, he internally combats between his sense of duty and morality. His inconsistency indicates a conscience that leaves one to ponder whether Jared is either a perpetrator, victim, or both. As his surname suggests, Bor-GHOST represents the "ghosts" that haunt the family's past. Many other characters play the roles of spies, freedom fighters, lovers, adversaries, and supporters. This novel is as complex as apartheid was itself, unlacing fabrics of each character's life to merge into a catalyst downfall. The question of who will survive this downfall will suffice in the courts of truth and reconciliation and whether love is strong enough to preserve peace.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781500289201
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 06/22/2014
Pages: 346
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.72(d)

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How the Water Falls 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Scott Skipper for Readers' Favorite South Africa was a police state as brutal and oppressive as any. How the Water Falls tells the story of civil war and the collapse of apartheid through the viewpoints of several diverse characters. Lena was half Bantu, half Xhosa. While attending school she wrote articles and rallied for change. Joanne was of English extraction and worked for an English language newspaper. She was surprised to take a call from Jared, a Boer, who was also a notorious disgraced soldier. Lena’s efforts earned her a beating and gang rape in police headquarters. The revelation that Jared gave to Joanne, which censorship quashed for five years, not only unveiled a massacre of women and children, but also implicated a high-ranking police official, Jared’s brother. Unfortunately, the fallout from it tore apart the lives and families of everyone involved. How the Water Falls unmasks the bloody state of affairs when the majority of a population is subjugated to the very brink of slavery. Without rights, the black tribes remained banished to squalid, impoverished townships, having to seek white approval to move or even to remain with family. The horrors described in this chilling account are hard for the mind of a twenty-first century American to comprehend. K.P. Kollenborn’s prose is unique, and the South African dialect is at times a trifle dense. The reader is, however, compelled by the sheer scope of the mayhem contained herein to ride the wave of madness to its uncertain conclusion. Historical fiction ought always to educate. The message here is a vital warning about the perils of repressive government that has been ignored time and time again throughout human history.
Shaka2U More than 1 year ago
How the Water Falls by K.P. Kolleborn was such a touching novel. It depicts the lives of both white and black people during and slightly after the years of Apartheid. I must say this book did take me a few days to read, but I am glad I made it from cover to end. The strong actions of Lena a young black woman with a mind to see people treated fairly and the actions of the young white journalist Joanne; their characters truly took me on a roller coaster ride of emotions. I laughed, cried, became angry at the circumstances at the life people had to endure through and live. This novel does not give you a whole picture of life during Apartheid. This novel provides a small glimpse into that time period. I took away so much from this and discovered that perseverance is the key to righting wrong. Amazing novel!
Ebienic More than 1 year ago
Although I am an avid student of history, I’ll admit that I don’t know much beyond the basics of apartheid-era South Africa. Because of this I jumped at the chance to read How the Water Falls, since I find it is often so enlightening to see the story through a character’s eyes rather than a dry textbook. As I had hoped, Joanne and Lena proved to be fascinating teachers. How the Water Falls primarily follows Joanne, a white South African of British descent, and Lena, a black South African activist, focusing primarily on their interactions with the Borghost brothers, Hans and Jared, who are Afrikaaners (of Dutch descent) and members of the police force. Joanne writes for a small newspaper, and Lena would love to write,but is prevented by her status and activist record. She is frequently harassed by the police, captained by Hans Borghost. Joanne tries to tell Lena’s story, but is prevented by politics and fear of retribution. I should note, harassment is probably the most polite way of putting it, there is description of violence in this book, and while from what I know it is accurate it is still stomach-turning. It was a long and winding tale, but How the Water Falls leads to a somewhat gentle conclusion for those who endured such violence. I think this was somewhat evident in the languid writing style, which contrasted with the conflict inherent in the tale. Although the story at points left me wondering as to how it could possibly end in a positive resolution, I think that it did reflect the hope brought by the end of apartheid, without compromising the reality of trying to rebuild a country that endured through such internal strife.
LFrankel999 More than 1 year ago
The cover shows us the three central characters on which the novel will focus. In the beginning of my reading process, I referred back to the cover because the artist’s conception of these characters helped to anchor them in my mind. Eventually, all three of the protagonists made a powerful impression on me. I asked myself why I felt one character relationship was the emotional heart of the novel. Since the characters were both white, I wondered if I was being racist. I decided that I felt that way because of the barriers between the two characters. Kollenborn shows us that there could be huge differences between white people in South Africa. There were white opponents of apartheid. I did think that the central relationship of the novel was intended to be the friendship that developed between the two female protagonists, but it wasn’t freighted with the dramatic intensity that would have made it feel more significant. I also would have preferred fewer information dumps. I admit that some information was definitely necessary to the plot. I discovered that “necklacing” was far more horrific than I had previously imagined. There was a handful of typographical errors, but several of them were noticeable because they occurred within a page of each other. Yet few books are completely error free. The study guide for book clubs asked questions that were thought provoking, but there was no question about the Truth and Reconciliation process. The character Joanne wondered if this process really could heal South Africa. I think that book groups will want to discuss how the book depicts Truth and Reconciliation, and whether it’s an effective policy for South Africa. How The Water Falls by K.P. Kollenborn testifies to the capacity of individuals to bring about social change. The protagonists are only a small sample of the type of courage and commitment that was shown by a great many individuals in South Africa during the period that brought about the end of apartheid. Without them no change would have happened. The stories of Kollenborn’s fictional exemplars are inspirational.
Raymy1012 More than 1 year ago
How the Water Falls is an intense and profound eye opener regarding the apartheid in South Africa. Author K. P. Kollenborn brings us this captivating tale that interweaves fiction and fact for a horrifying look at how South Africa was affected by the apartheid. Until reading this book I had no idea the extent of suffering endured at the hands of the apartheid. Kollenborn brings to life all the horrid details allowing the reader to fully appreciate the state of life in South Africa during the apartheid era.  Kollenborn’s ability to speak in several voices throughout the story allows the reader to have the experience through different points of view. The strength, courage, and tenacity held by the two main characters, Joanne and Lena, is inspiring. The dialogue is hypnotic surrounding you in the moment. The characters are striking in their depth. The storyline is suspenseful, intense, and addictive. There is love, sex, suffering, solidarity and hope. For an unforgettable experience, I highly recommend it!