This book offers something new and different from what we already know about Charlotte Maxeke. It brings fresh data to light on her life and weaves this information into a compelling life story that is neither gushing in its praise nor stingy in its acknowledgement of this remarkable leader. It also publishes never-before seen photographs, which allow one to sense and know the subject in ways not evident in previous photographs.
In the distance, the Blue Train glides into view—a mere speck on the horizon. The gathered crowd cheers in anticipation. They are hedged behind security gates that block their entry to the station platform, where a few guests and journalists await its arrival. Beautifully refurbished, the Blue Train is making its first trip from Pretoria to Cape Town in a newly democratic South Africa, and as it rolls slowly into Worcester Station, the crowd strains against the gates, hoping to catch a glimpse of Nelson Mandela and the other dignitaries on board.
Love in the time of Treason
Ayesha (Bibi) Dawood became a dedicated activist in the fifties and stood trial with others like Nelson Mandela during the infamous Treason Trials. Her family home was raided and her relatives harassed, she was repeatedly arrested and imprisoned. She stood her ground, but after the banning of political organizations by the government of the day, and the arrests of prominent leaders, Bibi’s spirit was crushed, though she never strayed from her journey towards freedom.
During this time, Yusuf, whom she had met a few years ago in India when she visited her grandmother, succeeded to jump ship in Durban and travel to her family’s home in Worcester to find the love of his life. A few years after they got married, Yusuf was arrested as illegal immigrant. Bibi refused to divulge secrets about the whereabouts of people like Ray Alexander who had fled overseas, and she and Yusuf and their children had to leave South Africa for India – Bibi with an exit permit.
India proved another trial in many ways. Yusuf had to work as migrant labourer in Kuwait, while Bibi tried to keep the home fires burning and was considered a leader among the women around Sarwa. It was during the wedding ceremonies of their daughter that Bibi heard about Nelson Mandela’s release – and the possibility of returning to the country she longed to see again, suddenly became real. . .
This is Zubeida Jaffer's personal life story, seamlessly woven into the story of the struggle for democracy in South Africa. This autobiographical account spans 15 years, starting in 1980 when Zubeida was a young reporter, to post-1994 and the TRC hearings, where she testified. This story is shaped around the relationship of Zubeida and her daughter, Ruschka, which makes it a unique struggle account. Political experiences are interspersed with talk about babies, her passionate love for her husband in hiding and the torment of a relationship unravelling. She bravely talks about never having time for herself because of the heavy demands made on activists. She also writes about her problematic relationship with Islam, the religion she was brought up in, but also the religion she questioned for its sexist rules. The title has its climax in Zubeida's testimony to the Truth and Reconcilliation Commission and her final break down. Her story is driven by an impulse towards joy - in the end she triumphs as an individual, a woman, a freedom fighter, a writer and a mother.