South Africa

AmaBookaBooka: Ex-jailbird says it’s cold outside the ANC, but not THAT cold (Podcast)

By AmaBookaBooka 3 October 2017

AmaBookaBooka is back with our second series of novel podcasts celebrating South African authors. Our first guest is Raymond Suttner, an anti-apartheid activist and jailbird who kept his own jail bird – a beautiful green and blue-tailed lovebird that became his prison companion. By JONATHAN ANCER.

Raymond Suttner was imprisoned for more than 11 years. His struggle memoir, Inside Apartheid’s Prison, has been re-issued with an introduction dealing with his more recent life outside the ANC.

Suttner tells AmaBookaBooka about his transition from liberal to underground activist prepared to die for his beliefs. He also speaks about the moment he was captured in 1975 and falling into the hands of a group of sadists. His weapon to get him through his ordeal of torture and solitary confinement was his idealistic single-mindedness. He reveals what he missed most during the eight years of his first stint in prison (spoiler: it’s not something a revolutionary should have missed).

The reasons Suttner joined the ANC in the first place are the same reasons he left it and he talks about what led him to serve the political party he had fallen in love with all those decades ago with divorce papers. The turning point, he says, was President Jacob Zuma’s rape trial and the cruelty it manifested.

Suttner takes AmaBookaBooka’s Sound Effects Rorschach Test and gives listeners an ear into the sounds inside an apartheid prison. DM

Photo: Raymond Suttner and JailBird


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