South Africa

AmaBookaBooka: Author’s triumphant return (after being killed) – A podcast

At the heart of the incredible memoir Killing Karoline is an unspeakable lie … By JONATHAN ANCER.

Trevor Noah’s path to the hot seat of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. His autobiography Born a Crime documents his path from South Africa to New York. Today’s AmaBookaBooka guest is not the king of stand-up comedy. We’ve interviewed another king – Sara-Jayne King. Thanks to apartheid’s petty and brutal laws, Sara-Jayne was also born a crime. Her biological mother was white, her biological father was black … and their affair triggered a sequence of events that started with the birth of Karoline in 1980, the death of Karoline a few months later, and Killing Karoline 37 years later.

Sara-Jayne is a journalist, talk radio host and according to her Twitter bio a “profaner & #adoptee”. She is also the author of the riveting memoir Killing Karoline, which documents her journey from Karoline to Sara-Jayne back to Karoline and then finally – and triumphantly – to Sara-Jayne.

It’s a journey that takes us from Johannesburg to a farm in rural England to Dubai to Cape Town and tells a powerful and poignant story about the raw reality of a primal wound, identity, adoption, belonging, sort of belonging, not really belonging, rejection, loss, shame, hair trauma, race and racism – and rehab.

At the heart of the story is an unspeakable lie.

Killing Karoline is a collision of multiple worlds but always a search for meaning – sometimes in a bottle, sometimes with a sharp object dug into her skin and often in food – but always searching. Killing Karoline is an easy read but it’s not always easy reading. The book is smart, thoughtful and authentic – just like the author. DM