A South African page-turner; and it’s all true


If you want to read a gripping courtroom drama and get a sense of South Africa in the dark days of the late 1980s you cannot miss Peter Harris’ book In a Different Time. Published in 2008, Harris’ page-turning drama won the Bookseller’s Choice Award and the prestigious Alan Paton Award in 2009. The book tells the story 4 MK operatives, known as the Delmas Four, who were put on trial for murder in the small East Rand town of Delmas in the late eighties. Harris, as their lawyer, narrates their story. Refusing to testify because they argued they were soldiers, not criminals, the story of their trial and sentencing is completely gripping. Woven in with this narrative is the ongoing presence of a parcel bomb sent from Vlakplaas that ends up being sent to an unintended address. Apart from giving insight into the ANC armed struggle and secret police hit squads, the book (as quoted from the cover summary) ‘paints a picture – at times poignant, at times devastating – of ordinary people caught up in extraordinary events’. Do NOT miss this book.

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