Wonderland

Square

Atlas, Amsterdam, 1996

In October 1990 Evelyn Groenink arrives in Lusaka and moves into a safe house of the ANC. Her mission: a plan by the Dutch anti-apartheid movement in collaboration with the ANC in exile to accompany several ex-querrilla fighters to South Africa. Groenink has landed in Lusaka to make the return journey together with them. From that moment on, she closely follows the end of apartheid and the cautious, hopeful beginning of a future.

(Atlas’ blurb, on Bol.com, in Dutch)

The writer, a journalist, is sent to Zambia by the Dutch anti-apartheid movement in late 1990 to escort incapacitated ANC fighters back to South Africa. She accomplishes this task and decides to stay in South Africa. Her contact with a freedom fighter -whom she will marry- is certainly to blame for this. Since the release in 1989 of its leader Nelson Mandela, the ANC has been in difficult negotiations with the then government. These negotiations form a red thread through the book, which is all the more important because of its reflection of daily life, especially in the black townships. The author shows how South African society is permeated by violence, ranging from criminal gangs; ethnic violence; police violence; sexual violence; and violence within families, mainly of men against women and children. Groenink is particularly concerned with the fate of women. Despite her belief in the new South Africa, she shows herself to be critical of the first signs of corruption and nepotism within circles of the now governing ANC.

(Biblion, J. van der Meulen, in Dutch.)

“Involved and compelling…If you want to learn about South Africa, you shouldn’t miss this book.” Algemeen Dagblad, Netherlands.

“She successfully depicts South Africa as a country through stories from and encounters with ordinary people.” De Morgen, Belgium

“Evelyn Groenink wrote an interesting, personal and eminently legible book.” Surplus, Netherlands