AT FIRE HOUR, a novel

: Gilder (B.)

R 290.00
- +

393pp., paperback, Johannesburg, 2023


Bhekisizwe Makhathini, a young black South African poet suspected of betraying the ANC, goes into exile in 1976, and until his return home in 1990, writes the story of a revolution.

"Here it is a last! A brilliant narrative of struggle and exile that burns away our amnesia. Pulled in by vibrant spaces, exploding speech rhythms, vivid smells, factual content opening into mesmerising imagination, the reader takes part in interrogating the role of art during oppressive times and is finally brought up against a most haunting ending." Antjie Krog, author of Country of my Skull and Begging to be Black

"Barry Gilder has delved deep into his imagination to recreate a series of landscapes, the staging ground for acts of courage & cowardice, love & hate, commitment & betrayal. It's an exploration of our conflicted past & an augury to a complex future." Mandla Langa, author of The Lost Language of the Soul

Barry Gilder was born in Durban in 1950. He was head of the cultural arm on Nusas in the mid-1970s, before going into exile in 1976. He joined the ANC and MK, underwent training in Angola and USSR and served in the ANC underground leadership in Botswana in the 1980s. He returned to South Africa in 1991, and was Deputy Director-General of the South African Secret Service and of the National Intelligence Agency, Director-General of the Department of Home Affairs, and South Africa’s Coordinator for Intelligence. He retired from government in 2007 and helped establish the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA), where he served as Director of Operations and Publications Manager. Since 2019 he has been South Africa's ambassador to Syria and Lebanon, based in Damascus. He is the author of the memoir, Songs and Secrets: South Africa from liberation to governance (2012) and the novel, The List (2018).