A Human Being Died That Night

A South African Woman Confronts the Legacy of Apartheid

by Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela

On Sale: 06/25/2024

A Human Being Died That Night

A South African Woman Confronts the Legacy of Apartheid

by Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela

On Sale: 06/25/2024

Format:

Christopher Award

About the Book

Winner of the 2024 Templeton Prize

“The story of an almost unimaginable dialogue…an exploration of evil, innocence, and the gray spaces in between.”—New York Times

“A startlingly personal account…written with clarity, energy, and enormous empathy”—Washington Post

A Mariner Books Classic

Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, internationally reknowned for her understanding of violent histories and transgenerational trauma, recounts an extraordinary dialogue. As her book opens, in an act of inescapable symbolism and psychological courage, she enters Pretoria’s maximum security prison to meet Eugene de Kock, called “Prime Evil” for his role as killing machine for South Africa’s Apartheid regime. What follows is a journey into what it means to be human.

In arresting scenes, Gobodo-Madikizela, who grew up in a Black township during apartheid South Africa, conveys her struggle with contradictory impulses to hold de Kock accountable and to forgive. Ultimately, she allows us to witness his extraordinary awakening of conscience.

The author’s profound understanding of the language and memory of violence, and of the searingly complex issues surrounding apology and forgiveness after mass atrocity, have left a mark on international scholarship and on our emotional lives.  

Critical Praise

“The story of an almost unimaginable dialogue…an exploration of evil, innocence, and the gray spaces in between.” — New York Times

“A startingly personal account…written with clarity, energy, and enormous empathy.” — Washington Post

“[A] psychologist of striking moral intelligence and clarity…Gobodo-Madikizela has composed a beautiful moral document.” — Time

“There is no more unsettling mystery than what allows an apparently normal human being to take part in institutionalized mass murder. Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela has every reason to loathe renowned death squad chief Eugene de Kock. But in this searching look at him, she gives evidence of an even greater human mystery: the capacity for understanding and compassion.” — Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold’s Ghost

“An exploration of the workings of forgiveness, a persuasive argument for the South African formula for reconciliation via the road of truth, and, not least, a testament to the author’s powers of sympathy.” — J.M. Coetze, Nobel laureate and author of Disgrace

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Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780063432659
  • ISBN 10: 006343265X
  • Imprint: Mariner Books
  • On Sale: 06/25/2024
  • Pages: 208
  • List Price:12.99 CAD
  • BISAC1 : HISTORY / Africa / General

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