336pp., b/w & colour illus., map, paperback, Cape Town, 2016
A biography of British pacifist, socialist and feminist Emily Hobhouse. Emily Hobhouse opposed the 1899-1902 Anglo-Boer War and came to South Africa to help Boer women and children incarcerated in British concentration camps. She died in London in 1926, alone and penniless. Her body was shipped back to South Africa where four months later thousands gathered to pay tribute to her. Today her remains are interred at the Vrouemonument (Women’s Monument) in Bloemfontein.
In the course of her research for the book Cape Town-based journalist and writer Elsabé Brits located one of Hobhouse’s relatives living on Vancouver Island, Canada, who had a trunk full of Emily Hobhouse’s scrapbooks and diaries, and a draft autobiography, unseen until now. Brits quotes extensively from these writings in her book.
"Brits’ book is not only about history but allows us, sometimes through Hobhouse’s own eloquent writings, to see and understand how and what she thought – about the politics of the time, about war, about human suffering and about what is it that is required in the face of injustice. It is packed with photographs and other records – including from Hobhouse’s unseen scrap books...As such Hobhouse emerges now as a moral beacon in a world still in need of these brave humans." Marianne Thamm, Daily Maverick