The airplane. The plane has arrived in South Africa. Passengers are grabbing their carry-on luggage and exiting the plane. Rehanna refuses to move. She has the aisle seat. Kim has the window seat.
Kim: Mom, it’s time to get off the plane.
Kim: Mom, everyone else is getting off.
Kim: The flight attendants will be coming and asking us to get off soon.
Rehanna: No, no, no!
Kim: (Pulling out a chocolate bar, breaking it in half, stuffing half of it in her mouth, and holding the other half just out of reach of her mother) I have chocky-wocky!
Rehanna: (Grabbing for the half of the chocolate bar) No chocky-wocky.
Kim: Come on, Mom.
(She pushes her mom out of her seat, down the aisle and down the steps of the plane. Uncle Pete is there to meet them. He is completely drunk.)
Uncle Pete: (Putting his arms around both Kim and Rehanna) Girls, so good to see you. How was your flight?
(He passes out.)
In the land-rover. Pete, Rehanna and Kim are driving on a narrow road near some very steep cliffs. Pete’s dog is in the seat beside Kim.
Uncle Pete: Yup, always does the trick. Some more whisky and I’m rarin to go. (To Kim) Oh, don’t mind the dog. He’s harmless, although I suppose he does sometimes like to tear people to pieces. Hey, look what I can do.
(He speeds the car toward the edge of one of the cliffs. He drives until the front wheels are just partially hanging off the cliff. Then he turns around and gets back on the road.)
Kim: Mom, I’m thirsty.
Rehanna: I gave you a sip of my juice box when we left Canada. Wasn’t that enough?
Kim: No, of course not.
Rehanna: Well, I think it was enough.
(The dog starts snarling.)
The cottage. The landrover pulls up. Pete, Rehanna, Kim, and the dog get out of the landrover and enter the cottage.
Pete: Well, here she be.
Kim: Groovy. Does this place contain anything to drink?
Pete: You can have a drink after dinner. First, I have prepared a special meal. We got salt pork and crackers, and if you’re still hungry afterword, I picked up some A and W before I drove to the airport. And there’s coffee and beer afterwords. (Kim gets a desperate look on her face) Well, I suppose I do have something around here to quench your thirst. (He goes to the cupboard and pulls out a bottle and a glass) Here, have a nice glass of beet juice.
(He pours some in the glass and Kim drinks it down.)
The classroom. Kim enters. Mrs. Phillips is standing up at the front of the room.
Mrs. Phillips: You must be Kim. Hi, I’m Mrs. Phillips. You’re joining us for three months, is that correct?
Kim: Yes, ma’am.
Mrs. Phillips: And what brings you to South Africa for three months?
Kim: My mom’s a journalist. She’s covering the Truth And Reconciliation Commission hearings.
Mrs. Phillips: Ah yes, the Truth And Reconcilliation Commission hearings. Class, who can tell me what that is? (Silence) Well, what does the word truth mean?
Black Boy: It means the white man’s evil is going to be exposed.
Mrs. Phillips: OK, and what does the word reconciliation mean?
Black Boy 2: It means the white man is going to have to pay for his crimes.
Black Boy 3: Yeah, pay a lot.
(The black students start cheering. The white students have been sitting in their seats silently throughout the previous dialogue. The black students start running around the classroom. Some one lights a stack of papers and the classroom catches fire. Kim goes to duck under her desk.)
Mrs. Phillips: Oh don’t worry, dear. They do this at least once a week.
The soccer field. Temba and some other black boys are standing beside the pitch. Kim comes up to them.
Kim: I’m so excited my mom’s covering the Truth And Reconciliation Commission. I can’t believe all the horrible injustices that were done to black people over here.
Temba: Well, thanks for your support.
Kim: Can I play soccer with you guys?
Temba: Man, we don’t let girls play soccer.
The school parking lot. Kim comes up to Marjorie.
Kim: You’re Marjorie? (Marjorie nods) I’m Kim. My mom arranged for you and your mom to drive me home.
(Marjorie’s mom pulls up.)
Marjorie’s Mom: You must be Kim. I’m Marjorie’s mom.
Marjorie’s Mom: Sorry I’m late, girls, but some black baboon broke into the boot of my car. He stole a wedding dress.
Marjorie: My mom’s a wedding planner.
Kim: The boot of your car? … Wait a minute, what do you mean by black baboon?
Marjorie: She doesn’t mean a monkey, she means a black man.
Watch out, Mother.
Kim: You mean you just call a black man a baboon?
Marjorie: Oooh, Mom, Kim here is going to arrest you for thought crimes.
Kim: Marjorie’s mom, are you now or have you ever been a racist? (Neither Marjorie nor her mother answer) Forget it. I’m walking.
Marjorie: It’s not safe for a teenage girl to walk alone by herself in Capetown, even the fifteen minute walk from school to your home. The streets are really dangerous.
Kim: (Tossing head) Anywhere has to be safer than being in a car with you two prejudice people.
(Kim gets out of the car. A few seconds later she is set upon by a swarm of young black men. She is beaten and stabbed.)
The museum. Temba is pushing Kim in a wheelchair.
Kim: Are you sure we don’t have to pay?
Temba: Sure, man. The museum is totally free on Wednesdays.
Kim: I used to hate museums, all that walking. Maybe it’ll be more pleasant now with no working legs. Hey, Temba, could you squeeze my chest? I need to exhale.
(They stop at an exhibit.)
Temba: (In fake tour guide voice) In this glass case you will note there is an African bush man, complete with all the things he would use in his daily life.
Kim: Probably a replica.
Temba: No, miss, it is an actual bush man, from the bush and everything.
Kim: Oh, my! The museum robbed a grave to get this?!
Temba: No. They brought him here alive.
Kim: You mean they brought him here alive and put him on display in this glass case?
Kim: Those white people are horrible.
Temba: Right you are. We black people are more humane by far.
Kim: Squeeze my chest again, please.
In the car. Kim, Rehanna and Anders are driving through the streets of Capetown. Anders is smoking.
Rehanna: Are you sure this is the right way to the township where the woman lives that we want to interview?
(A noise is heard.)
Kim: What was that?
Anders: Oh, no. I think I just drove through that wormhole. We could be in a totally different part of the world now.
(Around them appear run-down buildings practically on top of each other, garbage in the streets and ragged black children running everywhere.)
Rehanna: Where are we?
Anders: I don’t know. Could be the townships.
Rehanna: Or it could be the south side of Chicago.
Anders: Or Detroit.
Rehanna: Or the Bronx.
Anders: Or Kingston, Jamaica.
The farmhouse. Kim is sitting on her bed in the bedroom writing a letter.
Kim: Dear Temba,
Life at Milky Way Farm is definitely different.
First, there is my fifteen year old cousin Marika. Her mom does not allow her to wear makeup or nail polish. Every morning, Marika comes down the stairs wearing makeup and nail polish. Then her mother grabs her and rubs it off. This happens every morning. What is really strange is that they always end up in a heap on the floor laughing maniacally.
Then there is my thirteen year old cousin Yappi. He tries to turn everything into alcohol: cereal into beer, fruit into wine and potatoes into vodka. It was especially disconcerting when he used Marika’s new halter top to filter some Granny Smiths.
(Marika bursts into the room.)
Marika: Kim, come quick. There’s someone at the door.
(Marika grabs Kim and they run downstairs to the front door. The family is standing around, watching.)
Grandfather: Oh, don’t worry. That’s just our neighbour, old Kus. Someone is stealing his cattle and when he finds out who he is he says he’s going to sick the dogs after them.
Rehanna: Why don’t you call the police? That’s what they’re for.
Grandfather: No, the police are in league with the thieves.
Rehanna: Nothing’s changed, has it? The police will, too, help. They’ll show up in about an hour or so. Then they’ll take your statements. Then, if they can find anyone willing to talk, they’ll try to find the culprit among the many millions of transitory people migrating into and out of South Africa at any given time. Then, if the suspect is charged and the case goes to trial, which it probably won’t because he’ll just plea bargain, then he’ll get at least a few months in jail. Don’t you see how much better that is?
Kim: Oh, by the way, do any of you know who my father is?
Aunt Theresa: That’s it, girl. I’m locking you in your room, and don’t even think of escaping by the tree that’s directly outside your window.
Uncle Pete: His name is Hendrick Fortune and he lives on Robin Island.
Robin Island. Kim gets off the boat. A man is standing beside her.
Kim: I’d like to thank you for the lift from my family’s farm.
Man: No problem. Thought we were going to have a real problem when we ran over that rock. It was as big as a tortoise.
Kim: That rock was a tortoise.
Man: Oh, yeah. Well, hope you find your father.
Kim: Thanks. (She approaches one of the tour guides) Excuse me, sir, do you know where Hendrick Fortune lives?
Amos: Well, yes’m. He lives right over dere, by de bay.
Kim: Thanks. (Kim goes over to a big, fat guy who looks slightly similar to her) Excuse me, are you Hendrick Fortune?
Hendrick Fortune: Yeah, what’s it to ya?
Kim: Well, I’m Kim Vandermeer, your daughter.
Hendrick Fortune: (Picking her up and giving her a bear hug) Oh, honey, I’m so happy to meet you.
Kim: Daddy! … So, what do you do here on Robin Island?
Hendrick Fortune: I work on the plans for my construction project.
Kim: What sort of construction project?
Hendrick Fortune: A giant factory, similar to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. (Pulls some papers out of his pocket) However, instead of a place that manufactures chocolate and candy, this factory will feature the kinds of things you’d eat for your main course. (Points to various places on the paper) This is the field of meat products, pork and ham and roast bief and luncheon meat, this is the breakfast room with trees that grow sausages and bacon and fried eggs and hash browns and toast, this is the lake of stew.—
Kim: What’s all that black stuff?
Hendrick Fortune: Oh, that’s my river of coffee, stretching the whole length of the factory. No cream or sugar, just black, the way coffee should be enjoyed.
Amos: Ize regusted.
Based on a Canadian YA novel entitled “Africa” whose author I can’t find the name of after hours of searching.