van Heerden

Van Heerden is the assistant Carruthers engaged because he couldnt run the farm on his own. Van Heerden is an Afrikaans (Dutch) with a lot of experience in husbandry. Carruthers employed him although Dutch and Britains didnt had a good relationship in the past. Also the Relationship to the natives is even worse. Carruthers provides van Heerden a hut where he can live, but later he realizes that van Heerden took secretely his whole family (wife and 9 children) into the little hut. Carruthers decides to build van Heerden a second hut, although van Heerden first refuses his offer because he doesnt need a second hut. But Carruthers hold on to his idea and orders the native-workers to build a second hut. However the natives hates van Heerden a lot because he is treating them like cattle. Nevertheless, the workers build van Heerden the second hut, but with an incredible silent anger which shows that the thin truce between all parties concerned is going to break up. Now comes what was bound to come: van Heerden thrashes the workers, Carruthers doesnt know what to do, and in the following night the hut is on fire and a child of van Heerden dies, however he is total indifferent. A moment after this van Heerdens wife gets another child. In his opinion, thats just the circuit of life.

Van Heerden is the absolute opposite of Carruthers. Carruthers is overhelmed with the whole life on the farm while van Heerden sees the things how they are and deals with them. He is a fatalistic and strong person. In Afrika, on a farm, he is completely in his element. He doesnt care about his animal-like lifestyle and his brutality. He is like the life itself: Clear, brutal, reckless.