312pp., paperback, Johannesburg, 2019.
Winner of Recht Malan Prize 2020.
Jonny Steinberg tells the story of Fusi Mofokeng, a resident of Bohlokong, a township outside Bethlehem in the Free State created for people classified Black by the apartheid state. In 1992 he was arrested for a crime he did not commit and sentenced to life imprisonment. Throughout he pleaded innocent, campaigned for his release and applied for amnesty before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He was released in 2011. Mokoena is employed as a welder at the parks department and continues to seek a presidential pardon.
"South Africa's foremost chronicler of the implications of our racist past for ordinary people has turned to luminously reveal the depressing reality of the country's criminal justice system." Judge Dennis Davis
"Haunting, enraging and painful, One Day in Bethlehem is a tale of the catastrophic collision between the personal and the political." Redi Tlhabi, author of Khwezi
"Steinberg raises fundamental questions for the nation...a gripping meditation on truth and justice." Sisonke Msimang, author of Always Another Country
Jonny Steinberg was born and raised in South Africa. He is twice winner of the Sunday Times Alan Paton Award and an inaugural winner of the Windham-Campbell Prizes in Literature awarded by Yale University. Steinberg teaches at Oxford University's African Studies Centre and is Visiting Professor at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER). His previous books include A Man of Good Hope, The Number and Midlands.