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  A Beautiful Family

  Marilyn Cohen de Villiers

  © 2014 Marilyn Cohen de Villiers

  First edition 2014

  All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or any information storage or retrieval system without permission from the copyright holder.

  A Beautiful Family is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organisations, places, events and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance of the characters to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

  Published by the author using Reach Publishers’ services

  P O Box 1348, Wandsbeck, South Africa, 3631

  Edited by Vanessa Finaughty for Reach Publishers

  Cover design by Francois Engelbrecht

  Website: www.marilyncohendevilliers.co.za

  Email: [email protected]

  Contents

  PART 1 TRACY

  CHAPTER 1 Johannesburg, 2012

  CHAPTER 2

  CHAPTER 3

  CHAPTER 4

  CHAPTER 5

  CHAPTER 6

  PART 2 ANNETTE

  CHAPTER 1 London, 1985

  CHAPTER 2

  CHAPTER 3

  CHAPTER 4 London, 1988

  PART 3 BRENDA

  CHAPTER 1 Israel, 1985

  CHAPTER 2

  CHAPTER 3

  CHAPTER 4 London, 1985

  CHAPTER 5 London, 1989

  CHAPTER 6

  PART 4 BEN

  CHAPTER 1 London, 2012

  CHAPTER 2 London, 1985

  CHAPTER 3 London, 1988/89

  CHAPTER 4

  PART 5 ALAN

  CHAPTER 1 Israel, 1985

  CHAPTER 2

  CHAPTER 3

  CHAPTER 4

  CHAPTER 5

  CHAPTER 6

  CHAPTER 7

  CHAPTER 8

  PART 6 ANNETTE

  CHAPTER 1 London, 1989

  CHAPTER 2 London, 1990

  CHAPTER 3 London, 1992

  PART 7 BEN

  CHAPTER 1 London, 1989

  CHAPTER 2

  CHAPTER 3 London, 1994

  PART 8 TRACY

  CHAPTER 1 Johannesburg, 2012

  CHAPTER 2

  CHAPTER 3

  CHAPTER 4

  CHAPTER 5

  CHAPTER 6

  CHAPTER 7

  CHAPTER 8

  PART 9 BRENDA

  CHAPTER 1 London, 1989

  CHAPTER 2

  CHAPTER 3

  CHAPTER 4

  CHAPTER 5 London, 1993

  CHAPTER 6 Johannesburg, 1995

  CHAPTER 7 Johannesburg, 1999

  CHAPTER 8 Johannesburg, 2005

  PART 10 ALAN

  CHAPTER 1 Johannesburg, 2012

  CHAPTER 2 England, 1988

  CHAPTER 3 London, 1990

  CHAPTER 4 London, 1994

  CHAPTER 5 Johannesburg, 2012

  PART 11 YAIR

  CHAPTER 1 Johannesburg, 2012

  CHAPTER 2 Johannesburg, 2004

  CHAPTER 3 Johannesburg, 2008

  CHAPTER 4 Johannesburg, 2009

  CHAPTER 5 Johannesburg, 2012

  CHAPTER 1 Johannesburg, 2012

  CHAPTER 2

  CHAPTER 3

  CHAPTER 4

  CHAPTER 5

  CHAPTER 6

  EPILOGUE AVIVA

  Author’s Notes and Acknowledgements

  Glossary

  ‘Do not go about spreading slander among your people’ Leviticus 19:16

  PART 1

  TRACY

  CHAPTER 1

  Johannesburg, 2012

  ‘Hey... T.T.’

  Tracy looked across the newsroom at Tshepo Buthelezi, the burly political editor.

  ‘Hey, T.T. Come here.’

  She frowned. She hated her newsroom nickname. It had been bestowed on her – quite maliciously, she suspected – by the news editor, Prince Tshukudu, almost as soon as she’d introduced herself.

  ‘So,’ he’d sneered, staring at her chest before looking up at her face. ‘They finally found someone to tick as many of our employment equity boxes as possible in one skinny package. Female, tick; white, tick; a religious minority – you’re Jewish, aren’t you?’

  She’d nodded, startled at being so quickly, and easily, identified.

  ‘So, Jewish, tick. Disabled, tick.’ He’d giggled, indicating her glasses. ‘You a lesbian?’

  She’d gaped.

  ‘Well, are you?’ he’d demanded. ‘If you are, we can tick the sexual orientation box too... No? Too bad. Thought you’d be company for Thomas. Oh well, they haven’t done too badly with their token appointment this time. Four out of five ticks should be great for our equity scorecard. Hey, everyone,’ he’d yelled out to the newsroom, ‘meet Tracy, our new token.’

  That had been nearly four months ago and the stupid name had stuck. Token Tracy – T.T. for short. It didn’t make it any better that most of her new colleagues also had nicknames. Prince – Mafuta to his subordinates – called Tshepo ‘the Nigerian’, either because of his dark complexion or to cast aspersions on his honesty; Tracy wasn’t sure. His more respectful colleagues called him Kingmaker because of his reputed influence in the highest echelons in the ruling African National Congress.

  Now Kingmaker asked her, ‘You know a dude called Alan Silverman?’

  She shook her head.

  ‘You must know him – he’s Jewish.’

  ‘So are fifty thousand or so other people in Johannesburg.’

  ‘Oh don’t be such a smartarse.’

  Tracy bristled, and then grinned at him. He was a good guy, Kingmaker, even if he teased her all the time. It was all good natured fun and, anyway, he was one of the few in the newsroom who bothered to speak to her, notwithstanding that she was, after all, just a novice.

  ‘How come you don’t know him? He’s apparently a main man among your people,’ Kingmaker said.

  ‘They’re not “my people”. And I suppose you know every Zulu – or Nigerian – in Jo’burg too.’

  ‘Sho – you are being cheeky today, aren’t you?’

  ‘Sorry. Okay, I know of him. Who doesn’t? I went to school with his kids.’

  ‘And?’ Kingmaker waited.

  ‘And nothing. All I know about him is that he’s rich. They say he donates a whack of money – anonymously, of course – to the Chev every year.’

  Kingmaker raised his eyebrows.

  ‘The Chev. You know – the Chevrah Kadisha – the Jewish Helping Hand Society. It’s the main Jewish charity organisation. For Jews, by Jews.’

  ‘I didn’t think you Jews needed charity.’

  ‘Very funny.’ Tracy sniffed, pretending to be annoyed.

  ‘Silverman?’ Kingmaker asked.

  ‘I’ve never actually met him, not properly.’

  ‘You sure? What about his wife?’

  ‘Nah. Mrs Silverman was never around much at school. She certainly never stooped to help out in the tuck shop like the other moms. I saw her last week, though, at Moo-z bakery in the Sandringham strip, opposite Sandringham Gardens – the Jewish old age home. There’s a whole bunch of kosher shops there and she was shopping for bagels and cheese cake. Not that she ever eats them, I shouldn’t think – she’s skinny as a rake. And dressed to kill. Anyway, why’re you so interested? Jewish high society’s hardly your beat. I’d have thought you’d be more into Mrs Sexwale and Mrs Ramaphosa... and Mrs... the one married to that mega rich oke – Patrick something...?’

  ‘Patrice. Patrice Motsepe.