What is the summary for And They Didn't Die?

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Noelle Thompson | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

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And They Didn't Die is yet another installment in the Women Writing Africa series of books that reveal a lot about women on the continent of Africa.  Even though it's a novel, it's a historical novel, one that shows the abuse of apartheid in South Africa during the 20th century. 

The novel is mainly about a wonderfully strong, South African woman named Jezile Majola.  She unwittingly becomes the only one supporting her family after her husband is unjustly imprisoned.  Why unjustly?  He stole milk from a farmer (who happened to be white) to feed to their starving baby!  As a result, the baby lives, but loses the bread-winning father of the family.

Jezile Majola is forced to work outside of her community in order to earn a living.  Her community is in rural South Africa of the Bantu Tribe, and full of poverty as a result of apartheid.  After Jezile Majola finally secures a job hundreds of miles from home (and from her two girls), she is brutally raped by her boss and, as a result, has a mixed-race baby which places more shame on the family.  Even worse, the law of the Bantu tribe takes her girls away from her (because they are not allowed to be raised by a woman with an illegitimate child). 

Putting her own life at risk, she rescues her two girls as she watches her country fall into the worst atrocities that accompany apartheid.  As we travel with Jezile Majola, we see the beauty in Bantu village life, culture, and struggle with the South African government.