This book hit home for me. So much so, that I had to wait quite some time after I finished reading it, before writing this review. I need to explain that: I grew up in South Africa, during the Apartheid years, and many things touched upon in this book are things I lived through.
If you haven’t lived through it, you should still read it, as it will give you far more insight into what happened during that time than you’ll ever get from news articles.
Wiederhold, also from South Africa, lived through these times too, and was obviously deeply affected by them. He touches on open corruption in the Apartheid government, and its security apparatus, while telling the story of ordinary people, linked in a surprising way.
It’s a story of fear and hatred, but also kindness and love, all set against the terrible background that was the Apartheid system.
Like many white South Africans, Wiederhold fought against Apartheid, but the reality remains that the bulk of the fight, and the overwhelmingly high cost extracted by the Apartheid security services for such opposition, was paid for by black people, and quite often paid for in blood.
I remember, as if it was yesterday, watching on TV as Nelson Mandela finally walked out of prison a free man, with tears running down my face, and an overwhelming sense of relief in my heart. That moment is captured in the book, too, but with a chilling, and entirely plausible threat hanging over it.
South Africa, as a fledgling democracy, came precariously close to full civil war, and there were factions working hard to actively make that happen.
You can read an extract of the book by following this link, and you can buy the book from the publisher, by clicking this link, or directly from the author, who is on Twitter as @AlWinner. A portion of the proceeds of every book sold Wiederhold donates to the Apartheid Museum, in Johannesburg.
Buy this book. It’s important that the world hears this story.