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Sacrifice to the flies

The Force is one, the Force is all!

When we reported to Training Camp Alpha at seventeen, we each got our own S13. That day, when I wrapped my hands around the black metal casing of the rifle, something in me died. I just didn’t realise it yet.

Thirty soldiers receive intense army training in a dystopian state.
Six soldiers, stripped of their humanity, remain and are deployed to the Front.
One them murders their section leader.
All of them deny their guilt.
Who is lying?

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Sacrifice to the flies is available in all good bookshops and online.

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Sacrifice to the flies is a translation from Fanie Viljoen’s prize-winning Afrikaans youth novel Offers vir die Vlieë. The Afrikaans book won three awards in South Africa:

  • Lapa youth novel competition (2019)
  • ATKV children’s book award (grade 8 -10) (2021)
  • Scheepers prize for youth literature (2022)

Reading guide

An Afrikaans reading guide written by dr Dewald Koen will be available from Lapa Publishers soon.



Sacrifice to the flies – extract #booktok #book #sacrifice #bookextract #dystopianbooks #dystopia #sacrificetotheflies @penguin_teen

♬ original sound – Fanie Viljoen


Sacrifice to the flies – Diesel & Torsten #booktok #book #sacrifice #bookextract #dystopianbooks #dystopia #sacrificetotheflies @penguin_teen

♬ original sound – Fanie Viljoen



In earlier times, the world was a totally different place. That’s what we were taught at school. It’s difficult to comprehend. My comrades and I know nothing but this world, this time.

Before, people built towers. Some of the steeples reached right into the clouds. People could go wherever they wanted, they could think whatever they wanted and say whatever they wanted.

That’s where the problem lay: There were no boundaries.

Through this borderless world, there slithered a snake. It was in the air, in the ground. It was everywhere. You couldn’t see it unless you wanted to see it. To do this, you employed the magical powers of technology. People held black books in their hands, summoning up the serpent. And the serpent came and talked to them. The serpent created pictures and words in their minds.

Even that is difficult to understand. But our masters and our mothers said: You don’t need to understand it. You don’t need to think about the viability. There is only one thing you need to know: The world of that time was an evil place.

Those towers, and the things people did there, were evil. The snake and books in all their forms were evil.

That’s why they were destroyed.

Now, we have the Book – true and sacred are the words – guiding our lives and setting the boundaries. The Force constitutes the executing authority of the Book, the troops being a mere part of that authority, so we were taught. But an important part. We are the defenders of the New Order.

For opposing the Force, there stands the Anti Force.

“It’s a name that ploughs its way through one’s intestines,” says the new Priest. She often talks about the AntiForce, whenever we gather in the chapel, as she sits there in the darkened alcove, her words hovering above us like thunder while we kneel before her. “We’ll pay for this land with our blood. We’ll stop the AntiForce from occupying it, and the unfaithful from turning it into a place of evil.”

Good and bad. Faithful and unfaithful. Force and AntiForce.

So, we were taught from a very young age: We are part of the Force. We are the Good. They – the faceless masses on the other side of the Front – are the AntiForce, the Evil.

There was a day in the strange past when this divide was drawn clearly. That day, the towers fell from the sky and the earth shook. The detail is not important, said our masters.

Know only this: It was the day of the Darkening.

The day of fire and flames.

The day the trees died, and clouds shifted in front of the sun.


Fanie Viljoen
Skrywer, dagdromer, koffiedrinker.