Dalene Matthee

Fiela’s Child

God forgives many things, but God never forgives us the wrong we do to a child.

On the one side of the mountain, in the Long Kloof, there’s Fiela Komoetie, devoted to her foundling – the child God entrusted to her one night when she found the three-year-old boy crying on her doorstep – a castaway lamb. On the other side of the mountain, in the Forest, there are the Van Rooyens. Many years ago, the three-year-old son of Elias van Rooyen, a woodcutter, and his wife Barta disappeared …

The one child is Benjamin Komoetie, the other Lukas van Rooyen. Are they the same child? Was it possible for such a small child to walk that far – from the Forest to the Long Kloof? Nine years later, two census men, travelling through the Long Kloof and discovering the white child with the blue eyes among Coloured people, decided to take matters into their own hands.

And many years later, this is the question that Benjamin/Lukas is asking himself: Who am I? He had to know, otherwise the woman that he came to love would never belong to him. The answer was there, he knew. Somewhere deep inside himself, hidden in the past, but the answer remained evasive.

  • Fiela se kind (Fiela’s Child) has been translated into English, German, French, Hebrew, Dutch, Slovenian and Swedish.
  • Fiela se kind (Fiela’s Child) has been reworked into a successful stage play, a musical and an opera.
  • Fiela se kind (Fiela’s Child) has been produced as a feature film by Katinka Heyns of Sonneblom Films.
  • In 1999 Fiela se kind (Fiela’s Child) was selected as Book of the Century in a survey among 350 libraries across the country to determine the Top 100 Books. JRR Tolkien was first, Fiela se kind (Fiela’s Child) second and Kringe in ‘n bos (Circles in a Forest) third.
  • In 2006, Exclusive Books compiled a list of the 101 Books to Read Before You Die. Only three Afrikaans books were included, among them Kringe in ‘n bos (Circles in a Forest) and Fiela se kind (Fiela’s Child).
  • Click here for the Kindle Edition


  • Circles in a Forest
  • The Mulberry Forest
  • Fiela’s Child
  • Dreamforest