HOLDING THE FORT, a family torn apart

: Strasburg (T.)

R 290.00
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240pp., illus., paperback, Cape Town, 2019


Toni Strasburg, the daughter of activists Rusty and Hilda Benstein, was 16 in April 1960 when her parents were arrested and held for three months without trial. She was left to look after her three younger siblings, and was the only one allowed to visit them in jail. In this memoir she pieces together the diary her mother kept while in detention, excerpts from her father's writings and her own recollection of this time.

"Toni is an amazingly brave woman to write about this period in her life with such cogent composure. We went through the same experiences as a family and we are scarred with anger. She is truly her mother's child - ever so rational as she makes sense of the brutality of apartheid and its impact on the most vulnerable - the children." Linda Sisulu, Minister of Human Settlements, Water & Sanitation

"A remarkable book providing slices of life, courage, flair and wit, and devices such as Hilda's prison diary, menus, sketches, letters - the family Bernstein at a perilous point in their lives." Ronnie Kasrils, Minister for Intelligence Services 2004-2008

Toni Stasburg worked as a documentary filmmaker while in exile in London. After 1994 she began returning to South Africa. Her memoir, Fractured Lives, was published in 2013. Currently she divides her time between London and Cape Town.