March 4, 2017

Askari by Jacob Dlamini

By Jacob Dlamini

In 1986 ‘Comrade September’, a charismatic ANC operative and renowned MK commander, was once kidnapped from Swaziland by means of the apartheid safety police and brought around the border. After torture and interrogation, September was once ‘turned’ and sooner than lengthy the police had extracted adequate details to seek down and kill a few of his former comrades.

September underwent adjustments that marked him for the remainder of his lifestyles: from resister to collaborator, rebel to counter-insurgent, progressive to counter-revolutionary and, to his former comrades, hero to traitor. Askari is the tale of those adjustments in an individual’s lifestyles and of the bigger, ignored heritage of betrayal and collaboration within the fight opposed to apartheid. It seeks to appreciate why September made the alternatives he did – participating together with his captors, turning opposed to the ANC, after which weeding out his comrades – with no excusing these offerings. It appears to be like past the black-and-white that also dominates South Africa’s political canvas, to ascertain the gray zones within which South Africans – opponents and non-combatants – lived.

September’s acts of betrayal shape yet one layer in a sedimentation of betrayals, for September himself was once betrayed by way of the Swazi police, while he used to be kidnapped from his hideout in Swaziland by way of the apartheid demise squad in August 1986. This, then, isn't really a morality story during which the strains among heroes and villains are basically drawn. even as, the publication doesn't declare that the competing aspects within the struggle opposed to apartheid have been ethical equivalents. It seeks to give a contribution to makes an attempt to difficult a denser, richer and extra nuanced account of South Africa’s smooth political heritage. It does so by means of reading the background of political violence in South Africa; by means of the workings of an apartheid demise squad in an try and know how the apartheid paperwork labored; and, extra importantly, through learning the social, ethical and political universe within which apartheid collaborators like September lived and labored. this isn't a biography – a cradle-to-grave account of September’s lifestyles – although it does, the place helpful, examine his existence. September used to be now not the 1st resister-turned-collaborator. yet he was once additionally no traditional collaborator. this is why his tale merits telling.

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