David’s Story by Zoë Wicomb
Unfolding in South Africa at the moment of Nelson Mandela’s release from prison in 1991, the novel explores the life and vision of David Dirkse, part of the underground world of activists, spies, and saboteurs in the liberation movement—a world seldom revealed to outsiders. With “time to think” after the unbanning of the movement, David is researching his roots in the history of the mixed-race “Coloured” people of South Africa and of their antecedents among the indigenous people and early colonial settlers.
But David soon learns that he is on a hit list, and, caught in a web of betrayal and surveillance, he is forced to rethink his role in the struggle for “nonracial democracy,” the loyalty of his “comrades,” and his own conceptions of freedom. Through voices and stories of David and the women who surround him—responding to, illuminating, and sometimes contradicting one another—Wicomb offers a moving exploration of the nature of political vision, memory, and truth.
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