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Mother To Mother

Sindiwe Magona
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"I read Mother to Mother because it tells the story of Amy Biehl, who was a American Fulbright scholar killed in 1993 in a township outside Cape Town. When I worked at the San Jose Mercury News I worked with a woman who covered the trial of the killers who were basically a mob of angry, young, black men little more than children. It drew a lot of attention because Amy Biehl was a young, white, American woman. A pretty blonde woman who was killed just on the - when South African was on the verge of democracy. And of course people got killed and still get killed in the townships every day. They're very violent places. But this killing, because it was an American, a white American, drew the attention of the world. This book is based on a true story. I don't know how much Sindiwe Magona departed from the truth. I've read a lot about South African. I've been to South African. I think there's things that fiction tells you that journalism can't about people's emotions and people's inner truths and this is an example of that. Magona tells you how people live in the townships. She goes into tremendous detail. It's very leisurely. The story is told on African time and you get a sense of what it's like to live under these very socially engineered and oppressed conditions. Magona's moral is that yes, it is terrible, but we do still, as people, bear responsibility for how our children are brought up. I would recommend it to, first of all, anyone who's interested in South African, who's interested in race relations and questions of reconciliation. I'd give Mother to Mother four stars."
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