Available on JSTOR at: doi.org/10.2307/3334431

Abstract

Johannes Ralekiti Thage's story derives from the cruel urban experience of the Johannesburg slums. Mr. Thage, a winner in our 1970 literature competition, was born in the now legendary area called Sophiatown of which Trevor Huddleston has written with such passion. He now lives in Diepkloof, one of the string of towns that follow the line of the great ore-bearing reef of Witwatersrand. He is a young man of 21, still “entertaining different ideas” including the “far-fetched” one of marriage. Many readers may feel that his story lacks effective structure and development. This is perhaps to seek in it what was not intended. The plot is loose and hap-hazard certainly–so is that of Tom Jones! It is better seen as a series of vignettes of the South African situation, sometimes cruel, sometimes absurd, often tender and affectionate. In a letter Mr. Thage remarks “Some of the things I have said in my story are things which really do sometimes happen.” It is in this mode we can look at It Came Like a Windfall seeing in perhaps a broader international dimension, the sad fate of crooked Blackie, the extraordinary kindliness of the Fingers, and Wander's own affectionate innocence. Through this story one gains a new dimension of awareness of the casual daily existence in South African cities.