#39 – wariness between the two men

“You will, Mr. McGregor,” Banda promised. “You will.”
And Banda changed the subject.
Jamie began to feel a growing admiration for Banda. In the beginning there was a
wariness between the two men. Jamie had to learn to trust a man who had almost killed
him. And Banda had to learn to trust an age-old enemy—a white man. Unlike most of the
blacks Jamie had met, Banda was educated.
“Where did you go to school?” Jamie asked.
“Nowhere. I’ve worked since I was a small boy. My grandmother educated me. She
worked for a Boer schoolteacher. She learned to read and write so she could teach me to
read and write. I owe her everything.”
It was on a late Saturday afternoon after work that Jamie first heard of the Namib Desert
in Great Namaqualand. He and Banda were in the deserted warehouse on the docks,
sharing an impala stew Banda’s mother had cooked. It was good—a little gamey for Jamie’s
taste, but his bowl was soon empty, and he lay back on some old sacks to question
“When did you first meet Van der Merwe?”
“When I was working at the diamond beach on the Namib Desert. He owns the beach
with two partners. He had just stolen his share from some poor prospector, and he was
down there
visiting it.” “If Van der Merwe is so rich, why does he still work at his
“The store is his bait. That’s how he gets new prospectors to come to him. And he grows


Copyright © 1982 by Sheldon Literary Trust

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