Govan Mbeki: The Peasant's Revolt

The Peasant's Revolt

This book has had a painful birth. Govan Mbeki is recognized widely in South Africa as an expert on the Transkei and on rural and agrarian problems. But not for him the seclusion of a study or library, the facilities for patient interviews and field work. This manuscript was written in fits and starts on deal tables in the kitchens of several African homes in Port Elizabeth townships; its progress was frequently interrupted by police raids, when the sheets of paper had to be hurriedly secreted, or moved away from where their writer lived and worked, for his and their safe-keeping. A great slice of this book was written on rolls of toilet paper when Mbeki served a two-month spell of solitary confinement, awaiting trial on a charge of making explosives. Mbeki was acquitted after those court proceedings; the manuscript was smuggled out of the cell to the typist who pored over the faint pencil writing on the thin paper, by candlelight and in the privacy of her township room. Some final portions of the book were written from Govan’s last hiding-place in Johannesburg, where he had moved from Port Elizabeth after he was drafted by the African National Congress National Executive to direct A.N.C. campaigns from underground.

- Ruth First, from the preface.

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red jack
Dec 16 2016 08:53

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