Maj-Gen Jeremy Vearey, the scourge of Western Cape gangsters, has none of the gun-toting machismo I expected. Instead, he is a reflective and scholarly man who arrives at our interview armed only with a battered copy of one of George Bernard Shaw’s lesser known works, The Adventures of a Black Girl in Her Search for God. He has just launched his memoir, Jeremy vannie Elsies, in which he chronicles his evolution from a childhood shaped by a powerful matriarchy to the policeman-poet sitting in a modest Mowbray coffee shop on a sunny winter’s morning. He laughs at the suggestion of machismo: "My two grandmothers and my mother were tougher than any macho man!" From his mother he learnt about Marxism and the evils of patriarchy. She was a shop steward in the Garment Workers’ Union who led strikes for better wages and equal pay with male workers. "Women were only allowed to be seamstresses. The men were cutters and pattern makers and they were paid more," Vearey explains. "It was a strugg...

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