WHEN THEY CAME FOR ME, the hidden diary of an apartheid prisoner

: Schlapobersky (J.)

R 295.00
- +

206pp., illus., paperback, First SA Edition, Johannesburg, 2021


First published in the UK in 2021.

Foreword by Albie Sachs, former judge on the Constitutional Court of South Africa

In 1969, while a student at the University of the Witwatersrand, John Schlapobersky was arrested for opposing apartheid and tortured, detained and eventually deported.

In this memoir, he draws on two diaries he kept at the time - one written on toilet paper and the other in the Bible he was allowed. Now based in London, he works as a psychotherapist, is a training analyst at the Institute of Group Analysis, and was a Founding Trustee of Freedom from Torture in 1985. His books include From the Couch to the Circle: group-analytic psychotherapy in practice, which won the American Group Psychotherapy Association’s Alonso Award in 2017

When They Came For Me is many things - the tale of an ordinary young man swept one day from his life into hell, testimony to the wickedness a political system let loose in its agents and, above all, an intimate account of how a man became a healer.” Professor Jonny Steinberg, African Studies Centre, Oxford University, and author of One Day in Bethlehem

“One of the most vivid, intimate and sustained accounts yet, of the brutality that apartheid’s torturers unleashed - a remarkable book about our inhumanity, the resilience of the human spirit and a powerful explanation for the present past lingering in the intimate violence of South African society … and a gift, hopeful and uplifting, of how a victim of extreme violence turns his personal experience into a professional practice, psychotherapy, that restores the broken lives of those who suffered similar fates. In the telling, the prisoner is freed and his tormentors, all named in person, left with the tragic memory of what they have done.” Jonathan Jansen, Professor Emeritus, University of Stellenbosch and Former Vice Chancellor, University of The Orange Free State