With every rising sun, there’s a chance you could wake up dead in the Cape Flats – that large expanse of townships housing the so-called Coloured communities in Cape Town, South Africa. Roger Smith writes about this possibility and the people and events that make this spectre of doom a reality. If there are gang movies, Wake Up Dead: A Cape Town Thriller is a gang novel.
Not everyone involved in the struggle against apartheid came from the Mandela, Sisulu or Tambo political dynasties. And most certainly, not everyone had a chance at the same privileges.
But had it not been for backroom boys like old communist John Edward Matthews, who succumbed to cancer in his 85th year, the wheels of the struggle would not have turned as smoothly.
Apartheid South Africa’s bully boy tactics on the sub-continent were always going to ricochet against the architects and, sadly, more viciously on the foot soldiers. In Deeper than Colour, the main character Angus Smith says “we were taught to hate”. This is what the system, aimed to make of the men in faded army fatigues who pulled the trigger in the old South African Defence Forces.
If Joonie, Rayda Jacob’s latest book, were a movie, it would have hit the circuit with all the warning letters – SNVLP in bold. Truculently, the P of prejudice would be more pronounced, bolder. The book is about an abused kid who is unlucky in love and commutes between New Jersey and the Cape Flats in pursuit of an elusive dream.