It is 1998. The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission is trying to make sense of over thirty years of human rights violations. In London, Lally, a white South African émigré, goes to dinner with Pim – a long-forgotten childhood friend, and his latterday English family.
For Lally, adult existence has from choice remained transient, uprooted: a life of little consequence estranged from its own origins. But it is becoming clear that history will reach out, even to the inconsequential, and for Lally to seek out the truths of the child she must breach the hermetic safety of adult refuge.
Moving between contemporary London and the rural South Africa of twenty years earlier, The Beneficiaries traces both the young woman’s search for knowledge and self in a society that disallows individuality and the older woman’s journey beyond apathy and disillusionment towards the renewal of vitality and hope.
Exploring the sifting relations between memory, forgetting and denial when the truth comes in many versions, and the inexorability of memory as the most merciless personal truth, The Beneficiaries is ultimately about the possibility of healing, in a nation and a human soul.