Book shines light on Dennis Brutus, one of South Africa's most underrated poets

DATE: 7 September 2020

Fortunately for the rest of us South Africans, the apartheid police state often shot itself in the foot. On the one hand, after a horrifying exposé of jail conditions in Drum magazine at the end of the 1950s, it passed a total censorship statute on anything that went on inside prisons.

On the other hand, it incarcerated three of South Africa’s best poets – Dennis Brutus on Robben Island, Breyten Breytenbach  and Jeremy Cronin in Pretoria Central – convicted for anti-apartheid activities. Surprise: after their eventual release, all the jails’ brutality and cruelties came out in graphic print for the world to read.

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