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South Africa: Mohair – a Fibre Named Desire

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‘It starts with the land and the rain.’ It starts with a goat that travelled from Turkey to South Africa, back in the 19th century.

In The Story of a Goat, the 2019 novel by Indian writer Perumal Murugan, the author tells the tales of a black baby goat.

Once upon a time, a goat’s owner travels from one village to another, looking for “the right'” home for the little animal. He finally finds an old man and his wife, and gives them the goat, closing his gift with the words, “She is no ordinary kid.”

And so Poonachi the goat begins a new journey in the hands of the old villagers who devote their lives to taking care of the tiny creature.

Murugan’s novel is, in fact, much more than the story of a little goat – it is, with subtle but formidable strokes of satire, a commentary on the caste system and his country’s government.

But “watching” Poonachi’s experiences as the goat wanders through the farm and the village, is also a touching illustration of the deep connection the animal has with the farmers, and how intertwined their lives are; and maybe, it is, as well, the story…

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