News & events


07 September 2020

Book shines light on Dennis Brutus, one of South Africa’s most underrated poets

Fortunately for the rest of us South Africans, the apartheid police state often shot itself in the foot. On the one hand, after a horrifying exposé of jail conditions in Drum magazine at the end of the 1950s, it passed a total censorship statute on anything that went on inside prisons.

On the other hand, it incarcerated three of South Africa’s best poets – Dennis Brutus on Robben Island, Breyten Breytenbach  and Jeremy Cronin in Pretoria Central – convicted for anti-apartheid activities. Surprise: after their eventual release, all the jails’ brutality and cruelties came out in graphic print for the world to read.

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