Il­lu­mi­nat­ing Lives

South African Country Life - - In This Issue -

Bi­ogra­phies are among my favourite read­ing. It is why I en­joyed this book so much, even though the life sto­ries it tells of 11 ex­tra­or­di­nary South Africans are in the form of rel­a­tively brief bi­o­graph­i­cal es­says. It fea­tures char­ac­ters from the 19th and 20th cen­turies, whose back­grounds are as di­verse as the im­prints they left on South African his­tory. What binds them to­gether is ex­tra­or­di­nary will power. Tiyo Soga, for in­stance, her­alded from the war-torn border­lands of 19th cen­tury East­ern Cape to re­turn from Scot­land as an or­dained priest. At about the same time, John Mon­tagu ac­quired ad­mi­ra­tion and vil­i­fi­ca­tion in equal mea­sure as a British colo­nial of­fi­cer. In World War I, Pat Pat­tle won fame for his ex­ploits as a fighter pi­lot. Lil­ian Ngoyi rose from deep ru­ral South Africa to be­come a lead­ing anti-apartheid cam­paigner. And then there are the enig­matic sport­ing fig­ures of Danie Craven and Ed­die Bar­low who each left an in­deli­ble mark. What an in­sight the book of­fers into the rich­ness of our past.

Edited by: Vi­vian Bick­ford-Smith and Bill Nas­son Re­viewer: Leon Mar­shall Pub­lisher: Pen­guin Random House Price: R280 ISBN: 978-1-77609-264-2 Give­away code: BI­OGRA­PHIES

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