Südafrika in Wort und Bild

Synopsis for my novel "Footprints"
17.03.2019 14:35

MARIE BREYTENBACH is a widow in her forties living in Germany. The loss of her husband remains the central part of her life. She has no ambition for social contacts and keeps to herself.


Everything changes when she receives a letter from her brother KRIS, asking her to come back to South Africa and see their farm once more before it will be destroyed. The government plans to build a reservoir and put the whole valley with its South African culture under water. Marie visits the farm with her brother. She realises she is on the crossroads of her life; she decides to stay and write her memoirs and paint again. Kris helps her to find a place in Cape Town where she first starts painting. Cape Town proves to be too dangerous; there are riots in the street; Marie moves to Stellenbosch.


After a year Kris asks her to see what had happened. He had thought that maybe their farm had not been flooded after all; Standing on the broad rim of the reservoir dam he sees through his binoculars that the house is still there. However, there are no roads left, and they could only reach the farm when they would build a bridge over the gorge.

Marie wants to repurchase the farm to build a hotel for people who are looking for peace. They could only reach the farm on horseback;


Marie sees the government officials. They tell her that she can’t buy the farm back, as it does not exist in their books anymore. They sold it to the previous owners. The mayor proves to be very understanding, and he uses his contacts to help her. DIRK VENTER of the press assists her in submitting her story; the reason for coming back to South Africa; she presents it to him together with her memoirs, selling them to the newspapers and large magazines. It appears in a weekly column.


She could only reach the farm on horseback; they had to broaden the footpaths of the coloured workers and build a hanging bridge before guests could come. She borrowed a horse to visit the farm from time to time.


Marie succeeds in building her hotel with the help of complete strangers.

She meets a man whom she had known as a child; they fall in love and get married. PATRICK is a journalist and searched for her when he read in the newspapers what had happened. She never changed her name when she married her German husband, therefore, he was able to find her.


After a while Patrick wants to go to Europe again; they leave by ship to Turkey, where he writes a documentary. Marie is homesick for her country and her farm.

When they return, Marie succumbs for the first time since their marriage to his lovemaking with pleasure. Her world is in order again.


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