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The title of the book is said to have been taken from a poem of the same name composed by the Greek poet Constantine. This political allegory describes the imperialism and the violence caused by the colonists.
The book was written during the apartheid era in South Africa. It is also considered as a Heart of Darkness fable. It describes how the Empire is scared of an imagined enemy within. It also tells in great details about racism that was practised by the colonists.