This is set in a seething Africa at the turn of the 18th century. British forces are occupying the Cape, supported by the Dutch ""Orangists,"" hated by the Dutch ""Patriots."" At the same time, Hottentots and half-castes are divided into factions that either support the Dutch, or the English, or wish to join the uprisings of the Bantu tribes from the Northeast known as the Kaffirs. The man apart, yet inevitably a part of these upheavals is one Dourw, a fiercely proud, independent half-caste of Hottentot and Dutch descent. His Africa and his story are seen through the eyes of many people--Ouma Katryn, his grandmother who has followed him in an attempt to reunite her family; Bengt Lindstrom, a Swedish botanist who is an objective recorder of events; Ruth, the Hottentot woman who loves him; Tielman, the Dutch burgher who eventually becomes his friend; and Thomas Muller, the racist who has passed to become whiter than white. As Dourw fights to establish his independence and neutrality and to build up ""his corner of the earth,"" he is both abused and shielded, accepted and, eventually, destroyed. In his dissection of the underlying causes which create dissension and intolerance the author is both cynical and understanding. A Man Apart is an illuminating study of the dark continent in one of its blacker moments.