Born in a township in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, Mbu is separated from his beloved brother Mavusi at the age of three, when his mother moves to Cape Town with him. His mother is an alcoholic and not able to take care of her son. School eventually becomes his emotional place of refuge, and he is one of the best learners.
Jabulile lives in the township Masiphumelele near Cape Town. She is an enthusiastic soccer player and member of a girls’ team from Masi. In a game against the superior girls’ team from the neighbouring township Gugulethu, Jabulile scores a dream goal. A boy Jabulile does not know suddenly appears and congratulates her politely.
Themba grows up in a remote village in the Eastern Cape, a South African province. His mother enables him and his sister, Nomtha, to go to school, even though they live in poverty and a traditional environment. Themba loves playing football and starts the Lion Strikers football club with his best friend Sipho.
14-year-old Thina, short for Thinasonke, lives in the South African township of Guguletu near Cape Town. One evening, on her way home after drama practice at her school she is attacked and raped by three young men. When it transpires that she isn’t pregnant, Thina goes back to school, however, without anybody knowing what happened to her.
A serial killer is alarming Cape Town. His victims are always culprits from the apartheid era. Apparently, the killer sees himself as an avenger. The “Apartheid-Killer” causes a public controversy: is he establishing a justice that the South African society is still withholding from the victims of apartheid or is he simply a vicious murderer?
Henrietta, a 20 years old young German is in love with David, the son of an African Diplomat. To hinder this relationship between their daughter and the young African, Henrietta's parents decide to send her to live in South Africa with her uncle Hans. If the decision of Henrietta's parents has a corrective and punitive character, it fills their daughter, who had always dreamt of returning to Africa, her place of birth, with joy.
In twelve essays, sociologists Gronemeyer and Rompel report on and about people in Africa and sketch the image of a continent threatened by modernity. Their main concern is to represent the everyday life of normal people without falling into the trap of European clichés about Africa.
In the year 1999 24-year-old Alexander comes to study at the University of Cape Town for one year. Upon his arrival he is shocked by the overt racism experienced in the country, which in an exemplary manner under president Nelson Mandela had moved from apartheid to democracy.
Stefan Hippler is a catholic priest and since 1997 has headed the German catholic congregation in Cape Town. Bartholomäus Grill is an expert on African affairs for the German weekly newspaper DIE ZEIT. Both emphatically report on the threat the AIDS pandemic poses to Africa in their book God AIDS Africa. They demand that the Catholic Church rethinks its restrictive ban on contraceptives.
Ann Gopal, an attractive young woman, is exasperated by the excessive sexual desires of the husband, the psychiatrist Kalinaw. That is why she leaves him and takes refuge at Orlando Andrey's, a friend of her husband leading a withdrawn life in the mountains of Sierra Nevada.
“My summer as a whale” by Sven Lager who lives in Hermanus as a South African by choice, is about twenty-something Matthias from Berlin who has to do community work in the town of Sommerdal in the Western Cape, South Africa. Matthias was arrested as a shop thief and is supposed to be cured of this habit by caring for adults with Down syndrome (affectionately called “Downies”) in this town.
At the end of the apartheid era young Lucy Tshabalala moves from Soweto to Johannesburg and finds herself in Ponte City, the unofficial landmark of the city. It is a 54 floor tower of flats full of hope and fear, allegedly the most dangerous high-rise in the world.
In "Denn wir sind anders“ Jana Simon tells the story of Felix S., a member of the generation of “Wende” children who subsequently becomes a victim of his time. Felix S. lives a real double life – on the one hand he is a true hooligan and on the other hand he is an intellectual who wants to study Psychology and discuss apartheid with his grandparents.
Ruth Weiss' criminal novel is set in South Africa, 1998. Through an anonymous telephone call the lawyer, Ben Glaser who works for the truth and reconciliation commission finds a clue to a crime committed during the Apartheid period: Caroline Hughes, the daughter of an English missionary couple in Rhodesia, the present Zimbabwe becomes a complete orphan with the death of her parents during the fight for independence.
Shortly after the end of the Second World War, four year old Sara Lehmann came by boat to South Africa along with other German orphans. She is adopted by the Afrikaner family Leroux and lovingly given a home. The father is enthusiastic about the blond, blue-eyed adopted daughter he had wished for, particularly because of the pure German blood that will be good for his people.
Ruth Weiss, born in 1924 as Ruth Löwenthal in Fürth, was driven out of Germany by the Nazis with her family and came to South Africa in 1936. Here she grew up and later, as journalist for European and African media, she documented the turbulent developments in Southern Africa from the 1940’s until the end of Apartheid. She became a fearless fighter who, in solidarity with black South Africans, stood up against racism and Apartheid.