Ghost. Ape. Living dead. Young and albino, Chipo has been called many things, but to her mother – Zimbabwe’s most loyal Manchester United supporter – she had always been a gift.
On the eve of the World Cup, Chipo and her brother flee to Cape Town, hoping for a better life and to share in the excitement of the greatest sporting event ever to take place in Africa. But the Mother City’s infamous Long Street is a dangerous place for an illegal immigrant and an albino. Soon Chipo is caught up in a get-rich-quick scheme organised by her brother and the terrifying Dr Ongani. Exploiting gamblers’ superstitions about albinism, they plan to make money and get out of the city before rumours of looming xenophobic attacks become a reality. But their scheming has devastating consequences.
Set in the underbelly of a pulsating Cape Town, Meg Vandermerwe’s Zebra Crossing is an arresting debut and a bold, lyrical imagining of what it’s like to live in another person’s skin.
Meg Vandermerwe was born in South Africa in 1978. She read English at Oxford University and holds Masters degrees from the universities of Sussex and East Anglia. She teaches English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of the Western Cape, and lives in Cape Town, South Africa.
‘Will linger long in the memory after reading…Vandermerwe's narrative is stark and rapid, skilfully redolent of Africa. She channels the voice of Chipo to strong effect, capturing the very real situation around her while at the same time illustrating her naïve view of events and environment’
– Jewish Chronicle
'A chilling must-read.'
– Sindiwe Magona
'Zebra Crossing is one of the very best works of socially conscious fiction produced in 2013, one that provides ample evidence of tremendous literary ability and a fine understanding of form.'