Peeping Through the Reeds: A story about living in apartheid South Africa

Peeping Through the Reeds: A story about living in apartheid South Africa

August 2010
284 pages
ISBN: 9781452028774

Musuva (June C. Hutchison)

Peeping Through the Reedsis a fictionalised story about growing up “Coloured” under apartheid in South Africa. Based on real events, the story is told through the frank and insider voice of Musuva who narrates the story of a girl, Tumelo. The story draws on many conversations with elders and provides spine chilling insight into what enslavement, colonialism, class and apartheid and the struggle for freedom did to people and their mental health, to families and to relationships in South Africa, and celebrates a people’s deep resilience in their fight for human rights and dignity. Though South Africa has had a Truth and Reconciliation Commission after the end of apartheid, much of what is told in this book is little known, little acknowledged and little spoken about. In spite of the bottomless pain and loss endured through many generations, the story reflects the brave and enduring spirit of the people of the Cape. Peeping Through the Reeds hopes to make its contribution to a further understanding of unknown dimensions of South Africa’s miraculous survival of a crime against humanity, and the necessity of the ongoing healing project for all South Africans today. For those who would have visited South Africa and the Cape for the World Cup in 2010, or at any other time in the past, and also for those who hope to do so in future, this story hopes to help readers gain an empathetic and rare insight into a little understood genetically most diverse, brutalised, impoverished and marginalised people who today inhabit an enchanting landscape of the earth – the southernmost region of the continent of Africa which is the closest to the South Pole. In this story, the reader gets to know of a place and people of world significance to all humanity.

Musuva is the Khoisan pen name of June C. Hutchison, an award-winning South African educator and community leader, who grew up as an oppressed person under apartheid in South Africa. Born at the time of the infamous Rivonia Trials in 1962, when freedom eventually came for South Africans in 1994, she was already a mother of two sons and in her early thirties. She spent much of her teenage years and life fighting injustice in South Africa and to instill (through education) in people a pride in their identity and belonging as part of the ancient global human race. She has published several books in education and works in community development and race equality in the United Kingdom. As a research fellow on identity and belonging at the University of York (Institute for the Public Understanding of the Past) and as a visiting research fellow in human rights and heritage at Kingston University (Faculty of Business and Law), June has deep maternal Khoisan ancestral roots and continues to work to the benefit of her beloved country and people, as a proud Global South African.

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