Memory is the Weapon

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African Books Collective, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 152 pages
Donato Francesco Mattera has been celebrated as a journalist, editor, writer and poet. He is also acknowledged as one of the foremost activists in the struggle for a democratic South Africa, and helped to found both the Union of Black Journalists, the African Writer's Association and the Congress of South African Writers. Born in 1935 in Western Native Township (now Westbury) across the road from Sophiatown, Mattera can lay claim to an intriguingly diverse lineage: his paternal grandfather was Italian, and he has Tswana, Khoi-Khoi and Xhosa blood in his veins. Yet diversity was hardly being celebrated at that time. In one of apartheid's most infamous actions, the vibrant multicultural Sophiatown was destroyed in 1955 and replaced with the white suburb of Triomf, and the wrenching displacement, can be felt in Mattera's writing. The story of his life in Sophiatown as told in this essay is intricate. Covering Mattera's teenage years from 1948 to 1962 when Sophiatown was bulldozed out of existence, it weaves together both his personal experience and political development. In telling the story of his life as a 'coloured' teenager, Mattera takes on the ambitious goal of making us recapture the crucial events of the 1950s in Sophiatown, one of the most important decades in the history of black political struggles in South Africa.
 

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memory is the weapon

Contents

Chapter One Demolition
1
Chapter Two Bad News
21
Chapter Three To Become a Man
34
Chapter Four Sophiatown
49
Chapter Five DaiSok
54
Chapter Six A Brush with the Police
61
Chapter Seven Dumazile
65
Chapter Eight Other Faces of Kofifi
75
Chapter Nine Father Trevor Huddleston
84
Chapter Ten Pinocchio
94
Chapter Eleven Gangland
98
Chapter Twelve Jail
112
Chapter Thirteen The Change
128
Chapter Fourteen The Big Move
140
Back Cover
155
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