Title: The Woman of the Stone Sea
Author: Meg Vandermerwe
Reviewer: Sylvia Gangat
My understanding in reading the beginning is that Hendrik in the story was planning to drown his sorrows by committing suicide, he proceeded to use alcohol as his means of playing it out.
While all this commotion is happening in the sea his dog named Jakkals is sensing that his master was doing something that he does not understand and barks his head off.
The reason for his willingness to take his own life was, that his wife named Rebecca disappeared and it was understood that she had taken her own life and drowned. They held a memorial service for her passing on. Although he thinks that if Rebecca hadn’t drowned she must be still alive and went elsewhere. He wonders how he got onto his bed after being in the sea and who took off his wet clothes.
He somehow falls into a deep sleep and dreams that Rebecca is still alive. His dreaming that she is busy with making and preparing dough while his watching her.
Hendrik heads out to sea, wanting to fasten his crayfish crates so that the crayfish can nibble on the bait. As he walks along the beach he sees somebody bending with her back to him. He hopes it’s Rebecca coming back, but to his amazement he sees a black woman half fish and half woman. He looks around shocked, who can she be? Surely Rebecca couldn’t turn out to be a black mermaid.
He gathers the mermaid up in some tarpaulin and takes her home. He runs water in the bath and puts her in it. He calls her a black visvrou.
Now what does a visvrou eat? He fries a chop and cuts a piece but he figures that she does not eat meat. She howls loud at night and seems to be hungry.
He is also afraid that the neighbours will hear the high pitched sounds the visvrou is making and they would want to know what’s going on. He discovers she only wants to eat crayfish, so he feeds her and she crunches through all his crayfish. That is money that he would have earned if he wasn’t feeding her.
Hendrik goes to the bathroom to watch what she is doing and also to see what she looks like. Curly black hair, green eyes, little white sharp teeth, bare on top and flapping her tail over the bath.
Hendrik and Jakkals the dog, were coming home after getting more crayfish. He thinks that the visvrou has brought him some luck as his making lots of money. He enters the kitchen and notices the kitchen floor is wet and the visvrou is sitting at the table with Rebecca’s yellow dress. What was shocking is that she had grown two legs and she was busy with Rebecca’s handbag, thrown out all the paraphinalia onto the table.
The fisherman on the beach are now very mad with Hendrik because they are not catching any crayfish because the crayfish are now all going into Hendrik’s crates. He can’t tell them about his luck and the visvrou.
They wouldn’t believe him anyway. Hendrik is just swearing his head off and kept his distance. The whole village is now skinnering about him stealing their livelihood.