The working title of my book is… THE VASE WITH THE MANY COLOURS. It consists of two books.  BOOK 1. EMMY  and BOOK 2. MARLA.

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About the Book


seEmmy was born Emily Kleintjies into the Coloured community of South Africa. Her parents lived in District Six, a suburb of Cape Town. The Coloured community was discriminated against by the racial apartheid laws that became stricter with the election of Hendrik Verwoerd as Prime Minister. Emily, as a young Coloured girl, looked more like a WHITE (European) than a Coloured. Growing up, she found that she could ignore the ‘WHITES ONLY’ signs on benches, restaurants and beaches around Cape Town, without anyone challenging her.

As she grew older, she realised that she could not live with the racial discrimination of the country, being classified a second class citizen. She decides to challenge the apartheid system and become and live as a White. At the age of 16 years old, after many tears when she says goodbye to her family without them knowing her intentions, she moves from Cape Town to Johannesburg, where she successfully jumps the race barrier.

Although she goes out with various men she meets on dates, she is continually scared to form a permanent relationship, knowing that should she have a child, the baby could give her race relationship away. However, she falls in love with a manager at the company she works for, and by accident she falls pregnant. The father, Eric, who joined the army to fight in WWII is killed at Tobruk before they marry. Her daughter, Marla when born is born with straight hair and a light skin colour that does not give Emmy’s racial status away, as Emmy feared.

Through Charlie Stuart, the father of a friend, who helped her jump the racial barrier, she becomes involved in fighting the Apartheid system. When threatened by the Security Police who suspect her of working against the government, she is told that they will no longer ‘provide protection for you or your family.’ She refuses to give them the information they want. As a warning to her, they then poison her dog, Gamboo.


Marla growing up as a European in a town called Potchefstroom, is encouraged by Emmy to ‘make as many friends among the Afrikaans community as you can. The only way to overcome apartheid is from within, not by direct confrontation.’

When Marla goes to University, she joins the anti-apartheid student groups. And fights the Hendrik Verwoerd apartheid system. After she obtains her University degree, she tours England with friends, and in an accident, meets her future husband. It is only then, after returning to Cape Town, when she tells Emmy that she and Bertie wish to marry, that Emmy tells her that she is part of the Coloured community.

The target readership is… Anyone and everyone interested in the political system of South Africa during the apartheid era, and life as we lived it in South Africa, during that era.

More than 90% of the story in the book is based on actual events, that I have observed during my life in South Africa and England when I was student there in 1953.

Below is what Lynn Thompson of Thompson Writing & Editing Inc who edited the book, has to say about the books.

It’s an interesting story set during an interesting period in history, which is the essence of a good marketable book. It’s something about which most Americans know very little, too, so I like it from the educational perspective as well. I often advise my writers in terms of movies…. your book definitely has that potential.

Editorial Reviews

Maestra-Amanda Bookshelf. Review: The Vase with the Many Coloured Marbles “The vase is like South Africa, a country filled with people of many colours, a few who are truly uncut gems.” (pg 322) It has been a long time since I’ve read a “grown-up” book. When I received an email asking if I would read and review The Vase with the Many Coloured Marbles by Jacob Singer, I was intrigued and jumped at the opportunity. Here is the synopsis (copied from the back of the book): The name of Nelson Mandela is familiar to many, as a warrior against the injustices of apartheid. But many South Africans worked to break the power of the Verwoerd regime: the Black ANC and PAC, but also English and Afrikaans-speaking whites. In The Vase with the Many Coloured Marbles, Jacob Singer draws on his personal knowledge and experience to reach out to all South Africans, especially those who left the country because of violence; who live in exile all over the world. Jacob tells the stories of men and women who were harassed and discriminated against, and the politicians in the government who surrepitiously worked against the very regime that had employed them. You’ll read about unsung heroes such as Emily Kleintjies, who crossed the apartheid barrier and established herself as a white woman. You don’t have to be South African or a student of history to learn from this remarkable book, which shares a wealth of unique experiences. Everyone who is concerned with justice and the human condition will be fascinated and enlightened by the tragedies and triumphs shared in Jacob Singer’s words. The book itself is divided into two books, one about Emma (Emily) and the other focusing on her daughter, Marla. In reality, though, the storylines cross so much, that it just reads as one book, with each chapter focusing on a different character. Born into a “Coloured” family in Distric 6 of Cape Town, Emily Kleintjies was so light-skinned that she could pass for white. Seeing the racism and disadvantages her life would face if she remained in Cape Town / District 6, she taught herself English mannerisms, way of dress and diction in order to move to Johannesburg and try to pass herself off as white. She moves to Johannesburg, changes her name to Emma Kline and finds work at a local department store as a lingerie buyer, and part-time model for a fashion designer. Eventually, she meets and falls in love with Eric, but he is sent to the front lines of WWII. Emma, who didn’t tell Eric her secret, finds herself pregnant with his child, Marla. Eventually, with the help of friends, she gets papers forged to say she was born to a white, European family. The many characters and stories are so intertwined, but tie together so nicely, that I feel like I can’t talk about one without telling about everyone, how they are involved, and then that just tells the entire story! I’ll admit, I was a little disappointed in the way Emma had to harden her heart against her family and divide her life into compartments, but I understand why she felt she had to. I was also a little disappointed that she felt she had to keep it a secret from Marla for so long, but was pleasantly surprised by Marla’s reaction (after reading so many teen angst and drama books, it was very nice to have a character not go off in a huff). The synopsis on the back of the book doesn’t do it justice. Its so much more than what was presented. I really enjoyed it—so much in fact, that I gave it to my sister Sunday night to read (as soon as I had finished it). — by Maestra-Amanda Bookshelf

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