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A Burning Hunger


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The story of an ordinary black South African family from Soweto, many of whom played a crucial role in the struggle to end apartheid.

About the Author

Lynda Schuster worked in Africa as a journalist for the Christian Science Monitor. She met the Mashininis in the 1980s and has had their full co-operation in writing this book. She now lives in Florida.


The story of the Mashininis of Soweto, South Africa, told here by American journalist Schuster, is one of politics, bravery, and sorrow. Of father Joseph and mother Nomkhith's 13 children, five became freedom fighters. The parents were against the nighttime meetings, nonviolent marches, and protests in which their children participated, but what could they do? The June 16, 1976, student uprising in Soweto, organized by oldest son Tsietsi, was a more uniting event than any other in the struggle against apartheid. Arrests, beatings, and torture followed, and eventually all five brothers became exiles. Only Tsietsi did not witness the rewards of their work, for he died under mysterious circumstances in 1990 and was returned to South Africa to a hero's burial. By the time Nelson Mandela was elected president in 1994, the remaining brothers had returned home. In an informative and admiring style laced with interviews, Schuster writes a riveting family history of an infamous time that still has ramifications. Required for all African collections and highly recommended for all public libraries.-James Thorsen, Central North Carolina Regional Lib. Syst., Burlington Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Five black South African brothers from a moderate, religious home emerged as political heroes during the 1970s and '80s. Their fame came mostly from the events of a single day-June 16, 1976-when middle school and high school students held a nonviolent march to protest a government ruling that required half of all school subjects to be taught in Afrikaans, a language few black children knew. Police shot dozens of children at the march, and Tsietsi Mashinini, one of its organizers, became an enemy of the state. His siblings Rocks, Mpho, Dee and Tshepiso, at once cursed by their brother's notoriety and blessed with his gift for political organizing and public speaking, became leaders in the antiapartheid movement and eventually followed their brother into hiding, prison and exile. Schuster's five-way biography captures the antiapartheid movement from the perspective of adolescents, but her book is hampered by complicated accounts of infighting among political factions, and the journeys of its protagonists are sometimes difficult to follow. Yet the essential story remains crystal clear: this is a book about the sacrifices a family made for a cause much greater than they. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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