ISBN 0 19 421637 3
The story begins when Donald Woods, the editor of the South African paper "The Daily Dispatch", gets some pictures of one of his journalists showing police brutality. After a lot of hesitation he decides to print them. Mr Woods is a "white liberal" and is against black revolution groups like Black Consciousness. He decides to do an editorial on Steve Biko, one of the leaders of Black Consciousness who is banned by the South African government because of his radical ideas. The day the paper is printed Biko's wife confronts Woods and demands him to meet Biko to learn his real ideas. Woods agrees and soon he meets Biko at his home. He is stunned by Biko's calmness and after a while Biko convinces Woods to come with him and see how black people live in the townships. After he has visited a township he is stunned about the way the black people live. Biko also takes Woods to a place where Biko is building a place for black people to come together and get an education and get medical treatment. Woods decides to write an article about this place. The days after that the centre gets a lot of gifts (from whites and blacks). But one evening a group of masked men demolish the place. The guard hides in a tree and identifies a police officer. The next day Woods decides to meet the minister of Police. He speaks the Minister (Mr Kruger) and explains the situation. Kruger promises he will deal with the question himself. A couple of weeks later Woods gets an envelope of a court official. The envelope contains a supine, it says that if he doesn't give the name of the witness he will be prosecuted and risks a year of imprisonment. Woods doesn't give the names. Then two of his black journalists get arrested. One of them dies. Police officers say he hanged himself. But all his friends know Mapetla (that's his name) would never hang himself. His family demands an inquest and they get it. He has bruises all over his neck, which indicate molestation. The family sews the Police Ministry but the judge closes the inquest en rules that the death of Mapetla is nobodies fault.
Eventhough Biko is banned and he is not allowed to move from his district he decides to go to Cape Town. While he drives to Cape Town a roadblock stops him and he gets caught. Police officers arrests him and bring him to a police post. Six days later a doctor checks up on Biko and he discovers he is in extreme bad shape. His reflexes are gone and his whole body is full of bruises. The doctor tells the police officer to bring him to a hospital immediately but the officer refuses that and wants to bring Biko to a police hospital because he is afraid Biko will escape. The only problem is the police hospital is 1000 miles away.
Biko dies during the trip.
Soon Woods discovers Biko has passed away and the next day he puts it on the front page of "The Daily Dispatch". The whole country is sad and the funeral is accompanied by thousands of people. Biko's wife and Woods examine the body of Biko and discover it is heavily molested. But they can't do anything about it because soon after that Woods is banned too and he isn't allowed to write anything. Secretly though he writes a book about Biko and his death. He plans an escape to Lesotho. The plan succeeds eventhough a lot of problems accure. The story ends when Donald Woods and his family are in a plane and pass the border.
I honestly think this book is the best book I have ever read for English class. The use of English wasn't hard at all and I completely understood the whole book. I really think I learned a lot from this book and it made me think about a lot of things. It made me realise freedom and equal rights shouldn't be taken for granted. I also learned a lot about Steve Biko, who wasn't unfamiliar to me but I didn't know a lot about him. I realised he was (and still is) a true hero. I recommend this book to everyone as I learned a lot of it.
I chose the beginning of the book when Steve Biko reads the editorial of Woods on him.
"Why can't he see that I am not a violent revolutionist? Is he just a simple white liberal or is he wiser than that? I have never spoken a word with the man and he thinks he can explain people my thoughts and ideas? My plans aren't violent at all, my only goal is white and black people to live together. This can happen in a violent way or a peaceful way. The liberals seem to want a violent way but I don't think Mr Woods wants that. I just think he isn't well informed. How many times has he seen a black township? How many times has he talked to a black person in friendly way? Eventhough I can't go and meet Mr. Woods I do want to talk to him and understand his motives, eventhough he might not listen to mine. Maybe I can ask Mamphele to convince Mr Woods to come and meet me. Black Consciousness isn't a violent group but a peaceful organisation that wants black and white people to live together in harmony. I think Mr Woods is open for new ideas and I am the one who has got the mission to convince him we are all equal and the same. I can feel we have a great time ahead of us. And I am looking forward to meet Mr Woods."
Calm, rolemodel, leadership, admired, wise, forgivable.
Steve Biko is a calm and silent man who (almost) never loses control of his anger. He was a rolemodel for everyone in South Africa because of his courage and leadership. I think he was, and still is, admired by a lot of people. He was very wise I think, as he wasn't angry with anyone. He forgave all the cruelties and mistakes white people had made against him and "his people." I think Steve Biko is a man who has changed history and who should never be forgotten. He is a man who took too many risks though and that was the reason he died. He sometimes didn't think his actions through enough and is also a little bit stubborn. Still he is an admirable man who is too respect and never forget.
Liberal, changing, open-minded, married, career, brave
Donald Woods is a liberal man in the beginning but becomes a man who wants white and black to live together. He is quite open-minded as he does listens to Steve Biko and discusses problems with him. He also is married and cares a lot about his wife and children. His career means a lot to him but after a while he thinks the truth is more important than his career. He is also a very brave man as he made an extremely dangerous escape from South Africa only to let the world know what was really going on in South Africa.
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