Blame Me on History

Blame Me on History

Blame Me on History

Blame Me on History

Excerpt

SOMETHING in me died, a piece of me died, with the dying of Sophiatown; it was in the winter of 1958, the sky was a cold blue veil which had been immersed in a bleaching solution and then spread out against a concave, the blue filtering through, and tinted by, a powder screen of grey; the sun, like the moon of the day, gave off more light than heat, mocking me with its promise of warmth--a fixture against the greyblue sky--a mirror deflecting the heat and concentrating upon me in my Sophiatown only a reflection.

It was Monday morning, the first working day away from work; exactly seven days ago I had resigned my job as a working journalist on Golden City Post, the Johannesburg weekly tabloid for the locations. I was a free man, but the salt of the bitterness was still in my mouth; the quarrel with Hank Margolies, the assistant editor, the whiteman-boss confrontation, the letter of resignation, these things became interposed with the horror of the destruction of Sophiatown. I was a stranger walking the streets of blitzed Sophiatown, and although the Western Areas removal scheme had been a reality dating back some two years I had not become fully conscious of it.

In the name of slum clearance they had brought the bulldozers and gored into her body, and for a brief moment, looking down Good Street, Sophiatown was like one of its own many victims; a man gored by the knives of Sophiatown, lying in the open gutters, a raisin in the smelling drains, dying of multiple stab wounds, gaping wells gushing forth blood; the look of shock and bewilderment, of horror and incredulity, on the face of the dying man.

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