Of Wheels and Witches

Rated 4.00/5 based on 2 reviews
A Johannesburg schoolboy goes to spend the school holidays at a farm. There he meets three other children from different backgrounds. They have fun riding horses and exploring caves, until they encounter an ominous symbol of a wheel, and through a witch they learn of a plot to harm the father of one of them. They try to warn him of the danger, and come up against the power of the apartheid state. More
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About Stephen Hayes

Stephen Hayes lives in Tshwane, South Africa. He is a freelance writer, editor, teacher, and missiologist. He is also an Orthodox deacon, an Inklings fan, a church historian, and researcher on African Independent Churches and his own family history.

His book "Black charismatic Anglicans" was published by Unisa Press, and he was also a contributor to "African initiatives in healing ministry".

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Reviews of Of Wheels and Witches by Stephen Hayes

Sue F reviewed on Aug. 25, 2017

Jefferey is the main protagonist of this book, which is available from Smashwords. Jefferey is eleven, and we meet him on his way to stay at a farm in South Africa while his parents are abroad.

There’s some good description in the first chapters, as Jefferey starts to explore his new environment, and gets to know nine-year-old Catherine, the niece of his hostess. There are words in South African English here and there, reminding me each time where the story is set.

Then the story becomes darker. It’s set in the 1960s: the apartheid era of South Africa. It's written from a Christian perspective, but includes unpleasant curses from witch doctors, a great deal of tension, and some violence. As social history, I thought it excellent; I could almost feel myself living in the apartheid regime, seeing not just discrimination but anger, hatred and rampant unfairness.

The latter part of the book is fast-paced, and the characters are skilfully drawn. I doubt if teenagers would read this, since the book is about younger children, but the story is, in my view, more appropriate for those of at least 13 and older, rather than the 9-12 age-group of the main characters.

Recommended to anyone wanting to understand the apartheid regime from the perspective of children, but don’t be misled by the early chapters into expecting a gentle adventure story.
(reviewed 6 months after purchase)
Vickers1 reviewed on July 4, 2017

This book captures the atmosphere of apartheid era South Africa very well. The descriptions of how the Special Branch officers treat the children and some of the adults make tough reading, especially for younger readers. Tension is maintained throughout and it is hard to put the book down once you have started it. Recommended for young adults and anyone interested in South Africa in the apartheid years.
(reviewed 4 days after purchase)
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