MARK GEVISSER: The moral struggles imparted by Verwoerd
Verwoerd’s legacy had a life-changing impact on the moral convictions of his grandson and the two men who wanted him dead
“There is this thing of the blood on my hands, linked to the blood in my hands.” Wilhelm Verwoerd, the grandson of HF Verwoerd, said these words in a recent radio interview. They are a nifty summary of the predicament he explores in his new book.
He begins it with a startling image: his mother’s trauma at having had to wash his grandfather’s bloodstained clothes after his 1966 assassination. The water stayed red no matter how many times she repeated the process, and she carries the smell of the blood in her nostrils to this day.