holding up the sky

Young South Africans have to read this book to understand that apartheid was not only happening in Soweto.

The book is an autobiography of Sandy Blackburn-Wright.  who stresses out her experience in KZN townships and rural areas as a white person, she tells all the joy, pain, and hardship she had to go through. 

She lived and worked in South Africa between 1988 and 2003, years coinciding with some of the most tumultuous and significant events in the history of the nation, including the release of Mandela. Set against a background of profound political and social change, Sandy tells her personal story with passion, honesty, humor and truth. As a community development worker in the KZN she witnessed the brutality of life under the apartheid regime yet at the same time she was drown by the incredible humility and vibrant culture and traditions of the people, and the grandeur and beauty of the land. Even though her encounters were intense and often dangerous at that time, she never thought of leaving South Africa.

While living with a black family in a township she was caught up in the violence of the 1990 Seven Day War between Inkatha and ANC factions, in which hundreds were killed. She was forced to flee from gun-wielding attackers and watched helplessly as a young man was shot dead in the driveway of her home. Through her work she met the man who was to become her husband, and began the next phase of her life as a member of an extended and welcoming traditional, rural black South African Family.

Together with her husband sought to contribute to the rebuilding and transformation of a post apartheid nation. At first it seemed their love and commitment were strong enough to overcome the prejudice of the white and black communities, prejudices that were exacerbated by their adoption of her husband’s young niece, followed by the birth of their own son. But having given up so much for the love of a man of Africa, Sandy found that no amount of commitment and determination could prevent the rifts that formed within her marriage.

Her final choice was unavoidable, she left her marriage and the land she loved to return to Australia and begin a new life. But she will carry forever in her heart the land that changed her life, and which she in turn sought to support on its journey towards freedom.

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