Monday 17 September 2018

Briley, John "Cry Freedom"

Briley, John "Cry Freedom: The Legendary True Story of Steve Biko and the Friendship that Defied Apartheid" - 1987

I have never seen the movie "Cry Freedom" but it has been on my wishlist for ages. Now, I put it right on top. This is a book that was written after the film - quite a rarity. An interesting story about a man who tried to claim freedom for his people, equal treatment, no matter the colour of your skin, the end of apartheid. He wanted all that peacefully and paid the ultimate price. I don't think this is a spoiler because Steve Biko has been dead for over forty years.

But it is also the story of another man, one born into privilege in a country where it makes a huge difference who your ancestors are, born with that kind of attitude that makes them think they deserve this privilege for whatever weird reason. When Donald Woods meets Steve Biko, a friendship develops. John Briley, the author, describes this in a very subtle way, you can just imagine how the friendship evolved slowly but surely.

The life of Donald Woods is probably just as interesting as Steve Biko's. The story about their friendship describes the story of South Africa, the story of Apartheid. I have read quite a few books about the people from this country and it shocks me again and again how something like this could even happen, how people could accept this. I doubt that I will ever understand but I urge everyone to read about it and make sure this doesn't happen again, in your own country or elsewhere.

Brilliant story.

From the back cover:

"They said Steve Biko was a man of violence; then why did he talk of peace? They said he wanted revolution; so why did he talk of friendship? They said he died of hunger; why was his body broken and bruised? This is the story of a man's fight with the government of South Africa. It is the story of all people who prefer truth to lies. It is the story of all people who cry 'Freedom', and who are not afraid to die."


  1. South Africa was a hot mess that is maybe(?) recovering. This looks like a good story. Have you read any novels by Nadine Gordimer? She writes so well about the conflict from the vantage point of everyday people, both black and white, the good and the bad. The last one I read was Occasion For Loving.

    1. You are right, they were a hot mess and I don't think they have recovered , yet, but maybe they are on the way. We all need to work towards better understanding of other cultures and races, the world is getting smaller by the minute and it would do us very good if we could all work together.

      No, I have not read anything by Nadine Gordimer but it looks like I'll have to put her on my every growing list. Thanks.

      Will go over and check out your post now.

      Have a good week,

    2. I have just read Burger's Daughter, a book club read but I've finally read a book by Nadine Gordimer.