cover image Twilight People: One Man's Journey to Find His Roots

Twilight People: One Man's Journey to Find His Roots

David Houze. University of California Press, $24.95 (327pp) ISBN 978-0-520-24398-9

When David Houze and his mother escaped apartheid in South Africa for America, a country that represented promise and opportunity, their 1966 arrival in Meridian, Mississippi proved dispiriting: the ""grinding poverty"" and resolute segregation that greeted them did not appear too different from that which they fled. Houze begins by exploring his rural Mississippi childhood as he tried to understand his identity-a pale-skinned ""coloured"" boy from Africa-during the height of the civil rights movement. Amid the chaos of the fight for racial equality, Houze found himself being treated as-and consequently viewing himself as-an anomaly, a ""white nigger"" with ""African blood and guts."" In 1992, Houze returned to South Africa, as the country struggled to form a democracy, to explore his country's changes and reunite with his three sisters. With White power crumbling and the Black majority demanding representation, Houze finds ""in-between"" people struggling to find their place. Those classified as Coloureds received slightly better treatment than Indians and Blacks, which forced them to grapple with a new kind of unjustice-the kind that worked, however slightly, in their favor Houze'graceful memoir is a sensitive look into racial history in Africa and America, as well as a riveting personal narrative. 8 pages of b&w photos.