More of South Africa to Explore
with my forthcoming novel, ZEBRA!
Inspired by the life of Athol Wallace
ZEBRA is my second book which is largely based on my husband, Athol’s experiences. Athol grew up in a remote resort in the Drakensburg Mountains of South Africa and fought in the Bush Wars in the 60’s and 70’s. The novel spans four decades.
Like any long marriage – and we’ve been at it 37 years – our collaboration started off with great excitement which turned into a butting of left and right brains. His pragmatism pummeled against my imagination until ZEBRA finally evolved into a world of its very own – somewhere in between. Perhaps similar to having a child together – ZEBRA was created by two very opposite people coming together through desire, compromise and true love.
ZEBRA, in spite of being set in the Apartheid era, is not about politics, but I can think of no better time in history to share its message: True friendship has no color.
Two very different friends are bound by alternating threads of gossamer and sisal; coir rope and fine silk, but no matter how life pulls the ties that bind them, their friendship can never be broken.
ZEBRA (pronounced “ZzzEh (short e) Brah”
A young white boy and a Zulu tween forge a friendship and become Zulu blood brothers when one saves the other’s life. After a dozen years of being inseparable, society smelts them apart. A decade later they’re forced to meet on opposite sides of a battlefield. One a reluctant soldier, the other a passionate freedom fighter. Only one can survive. Or is blood thicker than water?
A young white boy and a Zulu teen grow up together, building an extraordinary friendship as they explore the rugged Drakensberg mountains around a remote South African hotel during the apartheid era.
Jock and Papin forge an indelible bond while learning to love and appreciate each other’s cultures. Despite whispers from intolerant guests, the boys are oblivious to the consequences of their friendship. “There goes the zebra,” guests remark, claiming they can’t tell where the white boy ends and the black boy begins.
But the boys’ friendship is strong enough to conquer all—until society’s impossible expectations wrench them apart, leaving bitter disappointment and soul-deep wounds that will not heal.
A decade later, these long-lost friends converge on opposite sides of a harrowing battlefield, one a reluctant soldier, the other a passionate freedom fighter. Their intimate knowledge of the other’s way of life could be the very tools that save them…or destroy them. And an unimaginable choice will put Jock and Papin’s once unbreakable bond to the ultimate test.
Jill Wallace, author of the multi-award-winning World War II novel War Serenade, brings together a fascinating coming-of-age story with a compelling tale of human connection in Zebra.
What Beta Readers Say...
Ok. I’ve just this moment finished ZEBRA. All I can say is Wow. I have tears in my eyes.
I don’t have the words to articulate my feelings right now…
Bravo Bravo Bravo.
Now I sleep, but tomorrow I start reading ZEBRA again from the start.
During today’s world of racial prejudice, discrimination, and injustice, it is important to remember that there are also uplifting stories of friendships – friendships that overcome any issues of race or nationality. These stories offer us a sense of hope during dark days. The book ZEBRA written by Jill Wallace, is one such story. Based on the life of the author’s husband, it is about a friendship that supersedes any divisiveness between black and white. The time is absolutely now, and we are ready for such a story that gives a glimpse of a world we can aspire to create for us all.
~Joni Rae O’Connell
I have just finished your wonderful book, ZEBRA. I really felt like I came to know Tsotsi and Papin. What a magical place to have grown up! Your descriptions of the boys and the mountains made it all seem real.
…The the war and apartheid were equally real. They were horrifying, but necessary and very well done. I loved how the timelines all came together to complete the story.
You asked, “does it work?” Yes! resoundingly, yes! When it is finally published, I will gladly recommend it as a “must read”.
Had the privilege of reading a draft of ZEBRA and have to say, this novel is a thought-provoking journey into issues which should have long been resolved…I grew up in South Africa. I loved it and couldn’t put the book down.
I really loved ZEBRA. I found the ‘hybrid” affect enchanting…all the memoirs, the time changes, it really kept me engaged. I was so engrossed and slightly in a panic….All will be well, I kept saying…
The army scenes where brilliant…reminded me of living at home in Zimbabwe. Very real and very authentic.
Africa is special, the stories are special, the ugliness and horror as well as the magic and beauty and total uniqueness of it all, is Africa. I’m sure people will love it, I sure did. What a story to share. I love the way you write…
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