24-year-old Caitlin Davies was studying in America when she met and fell in love with the enigmatic Ron. When Ron returned to his home in Botswana, Caitlin joined him in Maun, the 'Place of Reeds', and the two began their lives together. Eager to absorb all that Setswana culture had to offer, Caitlin found herself becoming part of Ron's extended family, falling in love with both the country and its people. Eventually, with the birth of their daughter, Caitlin's happiness seemed complete. But the Botswana of the 1990s was changing. AIDS and urbanization had taken their toll, violence was on the increase. When, with her child in her arms, Caitlin was brutally attacked, Ron's family closed ranks and Caitlin found herself ostracized by the very people she had grown to love. Passionate, hilarious, dramatic and heartbreaking in turn, PLACE OF REEDS is a story of the clash of cultures, the inflexibility of belief and traditions. It's a story about women - about Caitlin and her daughter, about Eliah and Madintwa, Ron's formidable mother and grandmother. Most of all, it's a story about one woman's courage, resilience - and ultimately, survival.
Caitlin Davies lives in north London with her daughter, Ruby. She is a freelance journalist, regularly writing education features for the Independent.