Last night I attended the launch of a new book by Ronnie Kasrils. The book, about his wife Eleanors involvement in the struggle against apartheid in the early 60s. At the time, she was working at Grigg's Bookstore in Durban so there was a harmony to having the book launch in the City, at Adams.
Ronnie Kasrils is a great speaker (he would have had experience in his years in the ANC and in his role as Minister for Intelligence Services in South Africa from 2004-8) and gave a warm introduction to the story with some cliffhanger moments. It is a quick and enjoyable read - with a story balanced between its historical moment and a the action of the events as they unfold. It was particularly interesting to hear how Ronnie and Eleanor revisited some of the sites together after they returned from exile and how more recently he had visited the house in Florida Rd (now a store) where the security police had come for Ronnie.
|Ronnie Kasrils signing books at the launch|
The event was well attended and much wine and guava juice was drunk. Frost read Tintin and Wren napped in the office. Later they played iPad. Frost enjoyed the samosas and fruit juice.
|Mr Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim, Deputy Minister|
for the International Relations and Cooperation
delivers an introduction.
During question time there was some discussion of the impending "information bill" being discussed in parliament and why more ANC leadership had not spoken out against the 'censorship' of the media and media freedom. Ronnie Kasrils said (among other things about the nature of government and the process of democracy) that he felt it was important that people speak with their government and say what they feel about the new law. He remains hopeful that it will not be passed as it is now and, in the context of his new book, felt that his wife would have stood up for media freedom.