When They Came for Me

When They Came for Me: The Hidden Diary of an Apartheid Prisoner

Non-Fiction, History & Politics, African History, Politics
Paperback Published on: 14/05/2021
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Apartheid and its resistance come to life in this memoir making it a vital historical document of its time and for our own.In 1969, while a student in South Africa, John Schlapobersky was arrested for opposing apartheid and tortured, detained and eventually deported.  Interrogated through sleep deprivation, he later wrote secretly in solitary confinement about the struggle for survival.  Those writings inform this exquisitely written book in which the author reflects on the singing of the condemned prisoners, the poetry, songs and texts that saw him through his ordeal, and its impact.  This sense of hope through which he transformed his life guides his continuing work as a psychotherapist and his focus on the rehabilitation of others. “[T]hetale of an ordinary young man swept one day from his life into hell, testimony to the wickedness a political system let loose in its agents and, above all, an intimate account of how a man became a healer.”—Jonny Steinberg, Oxford UniversityFrom the introduction: I was supposed to be a man by the time I turned 21, by anyone’s reckoning. By the apartheid regime’s reckoning, I was also old enough to be tortured. Looking back, I can recognize the boy I was. The eldest of my grandchildren is now approaching this age, and I would never want to see her or the others – or indeed anyone else – having to face any such ordeal. At the time my home was in Johannesburg, only some thirty miles from Pretoria, where I was thrown into a world that few would believe existed, populated by creatures from the darkest places, creatures of the night, some in uniform. I was there for fifty-five days, and never went home again.

  • Publisher: Berghahn Books
  • ISBN: 9781789209082
  • Number of pages: 248

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