Wednesday, 28 October 2015

TELL FREEDOM. By Peter Abrahams

'Peter Abrahams - the veteran South African version (author) – writes tenderly yet powerfully. And he has been doing so for many decades, having been publishing books on his native country since the 40's!! In his books, including this one, he always comes across as a pacifist, or/and humanist. This is a man whose childhood was spent during the terrible times of discrimination among races in South Africa. This work is an early biography of his, and can move one to tears intermittently. We see from his childhood that the white man is "god". As a child he learnt this only too well when in a certain episode, to please the "white baas", the child receives a horrific whipping by his own guardians! This amidst other unfortunate episodes like a mishap at the (water) well, and his ill-judged juvenile attempts to steal. The author's early life is soured because of racial discrimination – but not only him; his family, his goes on and on. Harrowingly. Ultimate despair. His love for writing however developed from a very early age, and for me, this is the most remarkable part of this work. There was virtually no encouragement for him in this wise, but he kept on writing, including penning striking poems as a kid. The powers-that-be even had to warn him against this (writing). His determination to leave the beleaguered country, to feel free, to write about "freedom" elsewhere (in other countries) is very commendable considering that era and its stultifying restraints. And so in the end the author takes to the sea, somewhat...That he went on to succeed as a writer - very well too, and inspiring many other African writers in the process, over the decades - might be regarded as icing on the cake. A remarkable man and writer.' - Malome

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