From Amazon.com: From Publishers Weekly
Set in newly independent Namibia, this novel gracefully places a tender coming-of-age tale into a political context. Raised in the Nyae Nyae area of the Kalahari Desert, Be--a Ju/'hoan (Bushman) girl--leaves the cozy warmth of her extended family group when she accompanies her mother to Ontevrede, the farm where her grandfather has worked for years. While her mother strives to please her new employer, Kleinbaas, Be becomes the protegee of the farmer's wife, who teaches the Ju/'hoan girl to read and write. A painful series of events forces Be to a deeper understanding of the Ju/'hoan people's struggles to retain the essence of their traditional way of life, and of her own family's complicated involvement with Kleinbaas and his wife. Love, too, comes to Be--in the form of dashing Khu, who arrives at the farm in his red four-wheel-drive to insure that Be and her family register to vote in their country's first democratic elections. Because it focuses on a handful of convincingly developed characters, the story is never overwhelmed by its political message and by the copious amount of information it conveys. Beake's understated evocations of the African landscape have the nearly tangible quality of a sense memory.