Extract

I’ve been immersed in SA history in recent weeks. It seemed a fitting prequel to our elections, coming as they did this week, a quarter of a century after the end of apartheid, and the beginning of what promised to be “a new dawn”.

 

Well, it certainly is no longer daybreak in SA. If anything, it’s terrifyingly close to dusk, to that bewitching hour that is twilight. Just before the dark.

 

But I get ahead of myself…

It is said that when asked, the beloved first president of our shiny new democracy, Nelson Mandela, credited Free State-born lawyer Bram Fischer for saving him and senior ANC members from being sentenced to death at the Rivonia Trial. It becomes obvious as to why in a newly released movie, An Act Of Defiance. This historically accurate film highlights the crucial role played by Fischer — the only revolutionary communist who played rugby as scrum half against the All Blacks — when Mandela and ANC leadership were arrested at Liliesleaf Farm. There’s a gut-wrenching scene at the end of the movie in which Bram’s wife Molly, a political activist herself, is killed in a freak car accident. She dies soon after the Rivonia Trial verdict: life in prison rather than death by hanging. A week later, Bram goes to Robben Island to visit the prisoners but does not mention her death; he didn’t want to burden them with his sad news. PODCAST: Smaller parties suspect fraud It’s an expression of selfle...

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