As a non-political pacifist I found “If We Must Die” by Stanley Manong extremely interesting. It draws back the curtain on a time in the history of our country about which many South Africans know very little – even to this day – 20 years into democracy. The thorough research and meticulous detailing of resources gives Manong’s work a stamp of authenticity which cannot be challenged and it is obvious that an enormous amount of time and energy has gone into the telling of his story. His recall and personal knowledge of the many people
mentioned, whether colleagues he respected or not, is based not only on memory but is backed up in comprehensive notes at the end of the book. Written in an easy style with the occasional touch of idiomatic whimsy and an injection of humour that at times lightens the seriousness of the subject matter, I found the story of Manong’s life as an ANC activist, a fascinating read.
I was struck in particular by the courage, honesty and integrity he projects as he leads the reader along his journey. After reading his autobiography, I feel I must express my sincerest admiration and gratitude for the part Stanley Manong has played in ensuring our beloved country, with all its complexities, will hopefully in the not too distant future, be a home for all South Africans.
Richard Street retired as an educationist, after 40 years in the game as
Headmaster of Bergvliet Primary in Cape Town. He was previously
Headmaster of Pinehurst Primary and Deputy Principal of Sacs Junior
where he and his wife also ran the School Hostel. His early years of teaching
were spent at CBC Pretoria and St. Agnes Primary in Woodstock.