Struggle heroes on trial

2008-07-16 00:00

Who remembers the names Jabu Masina, Ting Ting Masango, Neo Potsane and Joseph Makhura? Probably not many people at all. One who cannot but remember is author Peter Harris, whose experiences as their advocate marked him deeply. These are the names of the MK soldiers who came to be known as “the Delmas four” after the Highveld town where they were tried in 1987.

This book is many things, all of them good. Harris has created a gripping courtroom drama-cum-political thriller from a high-profile political trial and a series of coincidences that would elicit howls of disbelief if they appeared in a novel. In this case, truth really is stranger than fiction.

One of the most menacing characters is a bomb, which almost takes on a life of its own, building suspense to an unbearable pitch. I confess that I read the end, so desperate was my need to “know what happens”.

It is a profoundly moving tribute to the sacrifices thousands of South Africans made during “the struggle”, offering insight into what drove ordinary people to do extraordinary things. It is also a reminder of just how far we have come since the horrors of the apartheid eighties. Simon Wiesenthal never let up saying of the Holocaust: “We must never forget”; and neither should we.

“Struggle heroes appear in their revolutionary prime, untainted by the soul-demolishing experience of government,” says a press release, which accounts for the sense of wistful disappointment and “if only …” that I was left with.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, as many have remarked to Harris, it is a book about hope, something South Africans need badly right now, just as they did 20 years ago. He commented that many of the characters are still around “and it’s not too late for them to make a positive contribution”.

Do whatever it takes to read this book: borrow it, spend your book club allowance on it or sit in a bookstore coffee shop every day for a week.

It should be mandatory reading for all of us.

Julia Denny-Dimitriou

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Tax Compliance Officer

Cape Town
Mass Staffing Projects
R280 000 - R300 000 Per Year

Sales Representative

Cape Town
Pax Staffing Dynamix (Pty) Ltd
R8 000 - R25 000 Per Month

Mobile Developer

Cape Town
Goldman Tech Resourcing
R360 000 - R480 000 Per Year

Property [change area]

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.