South Africa: the long road to reconciliation,
This review is from: Red Dust: TV Tie-in (Paperback)
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has come to Smitrivier,a small dusty South African town, to hear an appeal for amnesty by Dirk Hendricks,an apartheid era policeman now in jail, for the torture, in police custody of Alex Mpondo, now an MP. Lawyers for James Sizela are hoping to pressure Hendricks to inform on Pieter Muller, who as Hendrick's police colleague is believed to have tortured and murdered Sizela's son Steve at the same time.
The novel brings alive the atmosphere of this sleepy isolated place set in semi desert, always dominated until now by the white community, where blacks have lived separately, and now a white man is in effect on trial for his freedom, before an audience comprising mainly black people.An explosive change at the heart of every South African town. We see Hendrick's humble fauning demeanor masking the cruel arrogance which will return when the opportunity arises. The strange universal intimacy between torturer and victim, and in South Africa, exploiter and victim is also discussed.
The novel shows the weaknesses of the Commission, played like a game by both sides, and more generally the difficulty of the healing process in South Africa, particularly in the absence of true reparation,and the continuing racism beneath assertions to the contrary.
The story ends dramatically, but I won't give away the plot.