Raymond Suttner was an idealistic young revolutionary when he joined the South African liberation movement. After his arrest in 1975, he was subjected to torture, solitary confinement and long periods in jail. As a white, a Jew and a Communist, he was held in deep suspicion by the apartheid regime. He knew he faced the possibility of arrest and detention, but writes there was thing in my own life experience to prepare me for the ordeal of falling into the hands of a group of single-minded sadists in an environment that was based on, and sustained by, violence. Many of Suttner's letters included in this book were smuggled out of jail and provide a unique and moving insight into the psychological affects of sensory deprivation and solitary confinement. In telling his extraordinary story, Suttner refuses either to valorize himself or romanticize his experience. It is a book for the general reader as well as a must for all those interested in South Africa's extraordinary transformation. This inspiring story will long remain remain in the memory of those who read it.
Raymond Suttner (1945) was a leading activist in the anti-apartheid struggle as a member of the African National Congress and Communist Party of South Africa. He spent over 10 years in South African prisons and under house arrest in the 1970s and 1980s. He was elected to South Africa's first democratic parliament in 1994 and has recently been South African ambassador to Sweden. He has written numerous books and articles, including Thirty Years of the Freedom Charter (1986) with Jeremy Cronin. He is now an independent researcher in Johannesburg.