In a country of twisted values romance across the colour line is forbidden and punishable by a mandatory prison sentence. In the dangerous days of the 1970s and 80s the country is in turmoil with an urban uprising, insurgency on the northern border and gun-running within. Jarnie, a young woman of mixed race white in appearance, disinherits her ancestry and oppressed background to live a secret and risky life among the privileged minority, much to the shame and distress of her devoted brother Greg. She invents a new identity supported by forged documents and lives in constant fear that the police will discover she is not the person she was born to be.
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She falls in love with Jago, an English journalist who is unaware of her deception or her sibling relationship with Greg. Jago is under surveillance because of his close association with Greg, who is suspected by the feared Bureau of State Security of collusion with proscribed organisations. Greg disappears and police give Jago one week to find him and hand him over, failing which Jago would himself be arrested on a murder charge and Jarnie would be jailed under the Immorality Act and for making false declarations.