Giving voice, and an authentic history, to the women who fought ...

Lifestyle

Giving voice, and an authentic history, to the women who fought apartheid

The author takes you back to 1969 to observe each woman at the hands of apartheid’s brutality

Syndney Seshibedi

Take a good look at the cover of Women in Solitary (Tafelberg). You will notice that the blackness, the sky beyond the bars and small high window, and the silhouetted dove soaring freely place the reader in the cell. The author captures you before you open the book.

To indicate that the matter on which she wrote 244 pages is salient, Shanthini Naidoo makes you read the preamble of our young nation’s constitution before you read the prologue. This founding document expresses our commitment as a democratic nation to the values that founded it in the wake of apartheid’s demise. Naidoo knows that commitment to the values embodied in our constitution is refined and made real when these values transcend the pages of the constitution and are repeated in books, in plays, in the press, on television and in our way of life.

She takes us into the lives of Joyce Sikhakhane-Rankin, Shanthie Naidoo, Rita Ndzanga, Nondwe Mankahla and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. What ties them together is 1969’s trial of 22, for which these women and many others were rounded up by police and kept in solitary confinement without real charges for nearly two years...

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