Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Foot Soldier for Freedom by Rica Hodgson

Okay, I won’t mince words here.  When I first saw this book I thought “not another South African struggle book”.  There are so many political resistance books out there, that I catch myself wondering why there was a fight to be had at all, if (pretty much) everyone from that period has a story to tell, all fighting for the ‘right’ reason? 
But then I heard that Rica had just turned 90.  To be 90 years old, agile (both physically and mentally) and to produce a book worth publishing must mean that there is something different about this.  I decided to take the plunge, put down my fictitious crime novella, and reached for the very modest-sized Foot Soldier for Freedom and was proven how I had misjudged this book in the beginning.  This book reads like a novel.  Told in first-person narration, in the past tense of course, the reader (me) could not help but want to know what happened to Rica and her family, her friends, her fellow comrades, and even ‘the bad guys’ on the next page.  This is a tough feat, considering that history cannot be changed and is expected to flow in a manner appropriate to auto-biographies. 
Rica has a gift for informing people about the past and the events of apartheid history in South Africa that prevents “another history book” idea but-instead-allows for “Yes, this is what happened.  But we move on” story-telling, which can be used for political and book cub debates alike.
 - Review by Tarryn Talbot


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