Saanich Peninsula author pens novel about South Africa

Caren Powell explores the violence and hope alive in a South Africa moving away from apartheid.

Saanich Peninsula author Caren Powell.

“At the time, says Caren Powell, “everything was changing.”

She is speaking about South Africa where she and her husband Neil lived for 38 years. Powell has vivid memories of the turmoil, violence and uncertainty surrounding massive change in that country as apartheid, its system of racial segregation, was coming to an end.

It’s this time in her life — and how it affected her family, friends and neighbours — that is the basis for her self-published book, The Dark Side of the Rainbow.

“I had so many vivid memories of living in South Africa,” said Powell, who emigrated to Canada with Neil after they decided to leave.

She said there were splits in the communities that were springing up as Africans gained more freedoms — as well as plenty of push back from the predominantly white authorities.

“Many people at that time were stuck in their ways,” she said.

The story is about a family farm, its white owners, black labourers, the strangers and other characters coming in and out of the lives of the protagonists.

While the novel itself is fiction, Powell said the stories are true — they happened during her life in South Africa on her family farm. Only the names have been changed, she explained.

In writing her book, Powell said there were times she would feel angry or sad, adding she relied on Neil to help keep her going. Other times the words would just flow — even in the middle of the night — and she’d have to get them down or lose the ideas completely.

Each chapter in The Dark Side of the Rainbow follows a certain time period in the lives of the characters.

The story, Powell explained, is her attempt at bringing out the differences that occurred at the time — from those living in extreme poverty to the harsh politics of the day and the divisions between black and white.

Powell said the cover of her novel represents the vision of the late Nelson Mandela, who helped lead South Africa through its time of change. While the rainbow is a symbol of hope and freedom, Powell said, there was a lot of darkness before its arrival.

The Dark Side of the Rainbow officially launched in late April. It’s available at Tanner’s Books in Sidney and at Amazon.ca and Amazon.com.

Just Posted

Woodwynn Farms to be shut down and sold

The rehabilitation program at Woodwynn Farms is being shut down. According to… Continue reading

False missile alert for Central Saanich councillor

While on vacation in Hawaii, Central Saanich Councillor Alicia Holman was awoken… Continue reading

Victoria airport nearing billion-dollar mark in economic impact

Airport has nearly doubled its passengers and its impact on the economy since 2005

More buoys allowed for Brentwood Bay

Proposed number rises from 40 to 60

Victoria airport reaches nearly two million passengers in 2017

This year expected to see additional growth

Sidney’s Salish Sea aquarium to close for maintenance

First extended closure for the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea since it opened in 2009

Butchart Gardens is hiring now and paying more

Wages start at $15, job fair Feb. 20

Cash still needed for Stelly’s Cross Path

MLA Olsen wants more specifics first

Injured parachutist wants stolen backpack back

Bag contained important video files of 2017 parachuting incident

RCMP nail sex toy thief

Shop owner plays a role in arrest

Ice-cream-eating bear draws controversy

An Alberta Wildlife Park posted a video this week of one of their bears going through a Dairy Queen drive-through

LETTER: The sewage spiral continues in Greater Victoria

My left brain has been trying to digest the news and comments… Continue reading

Fernie, RCMP go to court over city log books in fatal ammonia leak probe

Log books center stage in clashing of investigations between the city and RCMP

Renowned Comox Valley sasquatch researcher passes away

A renowned biologist and leading Canadian sasquatch researcher who called the Comox… Continue reading

Most Read