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- DescriptionThe context is Cape Town, South Africa of the 1930s as seen through the pre-teen eyes of the author, Yousuf 'Joe' Rassool when 'life was one interminable summer'. This family history covers the era of Gandhi in South Africa through the early Anti-Apartheid struggle. Rassool recalls characters of the time with a crystal clarity that is both the blessing and curse of those who went into exile. He brings to life No. 7 Buitencingle Street, the uccupied and shuttered ancestral family home of the Gools that is opened to their relatives, the Rassools, as temporary accommodation. The house, w run down, spoke of a former grandeur, of lost bility and wealth. It was once the venue of dignitaries, politicians, and intellectuals including Dr Abdulla Abdurahman, Henry Sylvester Williams, and MK Gandhi. Gool and several other associates including Dr. A. Abdurahman (who formed the African People's Organization), J. M. Wilson (Gool's African American accountant and business partner), Advocate Henry Sylvester Williams (who had called the first Pan African Congress and was the first black man to serve on the Cape Supreme Court) and J. W. Boyce became increasingly involved in the campaign to protest the erosion of the rights of n-whites, eventually leading to a strong political support of and friendship with Gandhi. Gool wrote to Gandhi in 1897. Gool and his associates shared the same belief that education was an essential weapon for their children to resists the assaults on their human rights. Their outlook transcended tions of race and was visionary even by today's standards. These visionaries were by means revolutionaries - they did t propose the overthrow of the government r Empire. Instead they simply wanted to claim their rights as subjects under the institution that they so revered. Abdul Hamid's return to the Cape in 1911 was in just in time to save No 7 Buitencingle from being sold and to arrest the declining family fortune. The house became the surgery and dispensary for his new medical practice. MK Gandhi, who had logged Abdul Hamid's educational progress in Indian Opinion, helped refurbish the front room by puttying and staining the wood floor. Gandhi often stayed at Buitencingle when he visited Cape Town. The Gools cared for Gandhi's frail wife, Kasturba. Abdul Hamid would hail Gandhi as 'Mahatma' in his farewell address in 1914. Friendship between the families brought together Abdul Hamid Gool, and Abdurahman's eldest daughter, Cissie. They were married in 1919. Cissie Gool became a legendary political force. Ather Gool daughter, Gadija, married Advocate Christopher, one of Gandhi's lieutenants. Gool's association with Gandhi also led to a romance between Gool's daughter Timmie and Manilal, Gandhi's son. Gandhi eventually vetoed their marriage proposal citing the marriage between a Hindu and Muslim would be like 'putting two swords in one sheath.' Rassool continues, in Part Two of the book, to describe life in District Six in an era of great turbulence as the old colonial decay gave rise to the ghastly social experiment of Apartheid. He recalls characters of the time with a crystal clarity that is both the blessing and curse of those in exile. A world frozen in the time capsule of Joe's mind is exposed for a new generation to better understand their origins. His history is t a simpering glorification of the new order in post-Apartheid South Africa. Instead it covers the period during which the very nature of struggle and resistance was wrestled with in debating societies, schools, and cricket clubs. The struggle for a New South Africa that is revealed was t a linear, unified, coherent march of righteousness. It was, at times, egotistical, undisciplined, and destructive. Joe gives a fly-on-the-wall account of the key meetings of the Unity Movement, from the point of view of a young activist, and of its split whose fault-line ran right through the middle of his family.
- Author BiographyJoe Rassool was born on 28 October 1928 in Castle Street, Cape Town to Ayesha Bibi Gool and Peerbhai (Peru) Rassool. He grew up in Buitencingle and at the age of ten the family moved to 95 Caledon Street, District Six. He attended Chapel Street Primary School and completed Matric at Trafalgar High School. He was politically active throughout his life having joined the New Era Fellowship and the Unity Movement of South Africa as a young man. He was a member of the Trafalgar Players in Cape Town in the 1950s. His famous roles include Here Endeth the First Lesson (Woodstock Town Hall, 1950), Hour of Glory (best play at the Scopus Club Drama Festival, 1956). He qualified as a teacher at Hewat Training College (then in Roeland Street) where he also became head student. In Cape Town he taught at Chapel Street Primary School, Habibia Primary School and Trafalgar High School. He subsequently taught at Esselen Park High School in Worcester where he became head of the English Department and Senior Teacher. Whilst in Worcester he staged a school production of Shakespeare's King Lear to high acclaim. Moving to the UK in 1970, Joe first settled in London where he taught English Language and Literature at Brooke House Boys School and later at Homerton House School and became head of department. After early retirement he and his wife Naz moved to Reading in Berkshire. Always a keen sportsman, Joe joined the University of Reading Cricket team, played table tennis for Reading District and did voluntary work at the Amnesty International bookshop. It was in Reading, England, that he wrote District Six: Lest We Forget which was first published by the University of the Western Cape. He contributed numerous articles to the journals Revolutionary History, and Searchlight South Africa amongst others. His novel set in the Hex River Valley, called The Valley Awakes was first published in 2003. Joe passed away in Castle Ward, The Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading on 31 August 2008. Joe was a loving husband to Naz, constant and caring father to Feyruz, Reza, and Zarina as well as a doting grandfather of six boys.
- Author(s)Yousuf Joe Rassool
- PublisherCreatespace Independent Publishing Platform
- Date of Publication10/02/2014
- FormatPaperback / softback
- SubjectBiography: Historical, Political & Military
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintCreatespace Independent Publishing Platform
- Content Noteblack & white illustrations
- Weight340 g
- Width178 mm
- Height254 mm
- Spine10 mm
- Format DetailsTrade paperback (US),Unsewn / adhesive bound
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