The Mask

A young woman returns to her village as an ardent nationalist after qualifying as a doctor in London; a bittereinder who left the Transvaal Republic for Argentina after the Anglo-Boer War returns to his grandfather's village as a highly critical expatriate; the local villagers pursue their lives; and the resulting issues of patriotism, language, race, religion, culture, politics and morality, so endemic to South Africa, combine as the action of the story builds to a deeply moving climax. The Mask is set in a village clearly recognisable as Clanwilliam in the Union of South Africa, formerly the Cape Colony, where the author grew up in the 1880s and 1990s. It is fascinating not only for its insight into South African political and social issues some twenty-five years after the end of the Anglo-Boer War, but also for its embodiment of Leipoldt's own deep-seated values and beliefs.



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