An old man is woken up by the wailing of a prophetess. Sitting on the veranda and staring into the dry veld he is beset with images of snakes hiding in the cellar beneath him. His peace is further disturbed by visits from his angry daughter, Susanna. Memories of his childhood on a remote mission station in Venda come flooding in.
Johannes remembers his father’s internment at Koffiefontein during World War II, leaving him and his sister free to make friendships, explore the mythical forests that surround their house and to connect with the spirit world of the Bavenda . On his return, the missionary tries to impose order on the mission station with tragic consequences.