When Christina Nana Mlozi leaves Holy Hill, a Roman Catholic convent school in Zululand, she is broken spiritually, mentally and physically. A problem child who sees little men who tell her to do mischief and who is more at home in ‘the brown place’ of the spirit world, Nana was sent to the Convent by her parents at an early age to be tutored and disciplined.
A rebel who drifts between relationships, jobs, homes, Nana is accompanied by her guides and protectors, spirits and souls that find in her a suitable host. The novel opens in the year 2004 in Durban where she meets her nemesis and saviour: Claude Dema, former child soldier, opportunistic male prostitute, part-time drug dealer, a drug addict who is a born-again Christian. Propelled towards her own demise and desperate for answers, Nana returns to Holy Hill after an absence of sixteen years.
A powerful and disturbing South African story of the present, Angelina Sithebe’s novel prods harshly to a level of discomfort, raising issues about religion, patriarchy, child-rearing in African society, xenophobia and justification for petty crime.