Strikes Have Followed Me All My Life: A South African Autobiography

Emma Mashinini, Author, Mashinini Emma, Author, Nomalizo Leah Tutu, Foreword by Routledge $19.99 (142p) ISBN 978-0-415-90415-5
In this direct, gripping account, Mashinini, a black South African, details her politicization during the course of her work as a trade activist and her subsequent Kafkaesque imprisonment. Married at 17, Mashinini eventually left her abusive first husband, taking her young daughters. ``I have always resented being dominated,'' she writes. ``I resent being dominated by a man, and I resent being dominated by white people.'' After working for a clothing manufacturer for two decades, active in a union for many of those years, she was asked in 1975 to establish a union for black shopworkers. Just when such unions were making gains, several of their leaders were arrested, including Mashinini. Police seized books and papers from her home and office without a search warrant; no formal charges were required for her imprisonment. Mashinini spent six months in solitary confinement without knowing why, or when she might be released. Under considerable mental strain, she began to find even interrogation preferable to isolation. By discussing her own life, the murder of her son-in-law Aubrey and the violent death of her daughter Penny, an event still ``not in my power to describe,'' Mashinini fulfills her intention of presenting ``a living memory of the evil of the apartheid regime.'' Photos. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/29/1991
Release date: 05/01/1991
Hardcover - 142 pages - 978-0-415-90414-8
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