By Mary Benson
The autobiography of Mary Benson, a white South African author recognized for her paintings opposed to apartheid, whose existence illustrates a public and private drama. She describes her early years spent in Hollywood and her existence as a devoted employee againest apartheid.
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Additional resources for A Far Cry: The Making of a South African
General Surtees grimly pointed out the seriousness of going AWOL, especially during a war. IIe had no alternative, he said, but to order my return to South Africa. Shocked, I could think of nothing to say. Quietly but devastatingly he described a series of lapses in my conduct. With tears If contrition I appealed for another chance. Generously he relented. The battle moved on to Tunisia, As the atmosphere calmed down, there was time for friendships to flourish. (One was special and did much to restore self-respect.
Through its revelation of South Africa, the landscape, the people - the black people - Cry, the Beloted Country crashed open the mould in which my white consciousness had been fbrned. This complex and marvellous country was my country. The place I had found boring and kept running away friom was my heritage. One passage could have been about myself: I was . , brought up by honourable parents, given all that a child could need or desire. They were upright and kind and law-abiding; they taught me my prayers and took me regu larly to church; they had no trouble with servants.
1i1d I were to work together tor the next seven years. It meant a great deal to him that I was Soi African, politically naive but a keen and responsive student, coming to share his dedication to the work, Looking back flrma a distance of twenty-five years, he was to recall: 'Ilalcyol daYs when things were happy and simple and straightforward', days which began when he was at a retreat house inSussex and I eagerly joined him to collect pages of' the autobiography for typing. I learned that he was the son of a clergyman acnd that hoth his brothers were also in the church.
A Far Cry: The Making of a South African by Mary Benson