Marsay Reads: Children of Sugarcane by Joanne Joseph

Book Review

Title: Children of Sugarcane 

Author: Joanne Joseph

Foodeva Marsay Rating (5 out of 5 Stars):

"Wherever we go, we leave our impression, and all the generations that follow are marked by it too. It occurs to me that the past is neither carved in stone alone, nor recorded singularly by the quill. Perhaps it is etched into the flesh, bones and memory of human beings, and travels silently into the veins of our descendants. Perhaps the only measure of hope lies in the future. For as long as it remains unwritten, it is all we mere mortals have the power to change.”

A historical fiction story, that enlightens it’s readers on the forgotten stories of Indenture to Natal, South Africa.  Shanti, is the young female protagonist, on whom this story is largely based, with the overall narrative coming from her. Hailing from a small village, in Madras Presidency, Shanti has always had a penchant to learn to read and write, and her literacy journey begins when the local priests’ wife secretly begins mentoring her.  When she is a teenager, Shanti runs away from home,  to escape an arranged marriage to a cousin.  She manages to enlist herself to join the British Colonialists for indenture to the Colony of Natal, with hopes for a better future.


Having grown up in Durban, Natal and being a South African of Indian descent, this Novel surely touched my heart.  Joanne Joseph has done much research on the true nature of indenture, that has now been brought to the fore.  An inspiring, well written story, Children of Sugarcane had me turning the pages to find out more, and left me teary eyed a few times.

The story unfolds with scenes of love, family, relationships, friendships, defiance, hardships, torture and so much more.  The author has done a sterling job with this Novel, skilfully using facts to create this fiction, and highlight/teach readers a little more about the stark reality of what indenture truly was like. 

Foodeva Marsay definitely recommends this Proudly South African read.

Happy Reading Lovelies

Love Marriam💕

Before you go, Don’t forget to check out this Book Review, featuring another South African Author.

Facebook comments


Leave a Reply