How accurate does historical fiction need to be? The boys of a matric history class in a Cape Town school made their thoughts clear to me when I introduced Wilbur Smith’s novel Rage into a module on Sharpeville.

"It’s just not right," said one indignant teenager. "But how can he do that, sir?" asked another furious pupil. A few years ago, I was standing in for a history teacher friend and was given the task of covering the events leading up to the anti-pass demonstration at Sharpeville, the event itself and the consequences...

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