Gabriel Kutama, an elderly illegal from across the border, is mugged at a Soweto taxi rank. He ends up at the house of Portia, a single mother who tends to his bruises. She allows him to stay on in a room at the back of her house. But Gabriel is no ordinary man, for he is the former President of the country north of the South African border, presumed dead after a military coup. His wife has fled to London with their three children. He contemplates suicide, but then to his amazement discovers that his life still has purpose.
His journey to find his true self will include adult literacy, gardening and begging while he tries to come to terms with homosexuality, blackmail, bigamy, crazy white people, xenophobia and poverty, biding his time until he can take up his rightful place in the world once again.