Paulus and Thebedi have known each other since they were children. Paulus is son of the owner of the farm where Thebedi comes to work later in the story. Paulus is a white boy, and Thebedi is a black girl. The time comes, and the white children are being sent to school, and even though the black children also goes to school, none of them ever get to be as well educated as the white children. As the children develop physically, the black children learn to address the white children as "master". Paulus falls in love with Thebedi, and even though she's black, he doesn't see her that way. When he comes home for the holidays, he brought her presents, and Thebedi also give him a homemade bracelet. The bracelet is admired very much by his friends at school. Meanwhile, a black young man, Njabulo, falls in love with Thebedi, and wishes that he could be the one that gave Thebedi the presents. Thebedi doesn't tell the other girls at the kraal (the village) that she got them from Paulus, but she says that she's got a sweetheart on another farm who gave her the presents. Paulus never stops loving Thebedi. Even though he engages sexual intercourse with a white girl at a party, he never stops loving Thebedi. Next time he comes home for the holidays, he and Thebedi meet at the riverbed. Without having planned it, they both manage to get away so they can meet. Paulus tells her stories, and Thebedi listens very carefully. They start making love, and they have a relationship for a very long time, but they almost don't talk to each other anymore. Paulus is going back to school, but Thebedi doesn't tell him that she thinks that she is going to have a baby. During the time when Paulus is away at school, Thebedi turns eighteen, and she's ready to get married. Njabulo pays the money that is required to be able to marry her, and they get married. After some time, Thebedi gives birth to a baby, but as the days go by, it is clear the father of the baby is white, and therefore cannot be Njabulo.