The Lost Boys of Bird Island author Chris Steyn releases statement addressing the last words of her late co-author Mark Minnie

Image: Chris Steyn and Mark Minnie

Tafelberg Publishers has issued a statement on behalf of Chris Steyn, author of the controversial new exposé The Lost Boys of Bird Island.

The book names three former National Party ministers, including Magnus Malan, as central figures in the systematic abuse, rape and possible murder of a number of children, most of them vulnerable and black, during apartheid.

Steyn’s co-author Mark Minnie was found dead near Port Elizabeth one week after the release of the book.

A number of commentators stated that they found the death suspicious, but Steyn’s statement appears to put those suspicions to rest.

Read the statement from Tafelberg:

Statement by Tafelberg Publishers on behalf of Chris Steyn, author of The Lost Boys of Bird Island

The pitiful cries of the lost boys of Bird Island have haunted me for the past 31 years.
At last their story is out.
Chrissy, don’t give up now. You are almost home.
No government officials preventing you from investigating this time round.

These were Mark Minnie’s last words to me. They are extracted from a letter written shortly before he died. He called it his ‘last piece of writing’.

This is my reply:

I will keep going.
You knew that.
I just wish you could have been here to go through all the new leads with me.
If only you were still alive to see all the information and incredible confirmation that has come in since the
book was published.
You would have felt some vindication at last.
But I have good news, Mark.
There is already enough to start building a new docket.
Once we are ready, we will hand it over for further action.
That was all you ever wanted. A proper investigation.
But you don’t have to worry about it anymore.
And nobody is going to steal this docket.

In his final chapter of the book, Mark Minnie said he hoped the boy who was secretly treated in hospital is still alive. ‘I also hope that if there is anyone out there who has any knowledge of him or any of these missing boys, the Lost Boys of Bird Island, that they will come forward.

‘Any victims who suffered at the hands of Dave Allen and company, let your voices be heard. Do not remain silent any longer.’

It was Minnie’s final wish that victims and people with more information would come forward and that there would be a proper investigation. He wanted the voices of the victims to be heard. Let’s give him his final wish.

Anybody with information on the The Lost Boys of Bird Island can email us on

In Minnie’s final note he also says he is tired and is looking forward to eternal rest. The rest of his note is addressed to his family.




The Reading List received the following statement from the publishers of The Lost Boys of Bird Island, NB Publishers:

Media24 is required to reach out to all online content referencing the book, The Lost Boys of Bird Island as part of a settlement agreement. I have been instructed by Media24 CEO, Ishmet Davidson, to kindly request that you add the statements below and a link to the press releases.

Media24 has apologised for the publication of defamatory statements regarding Mr Barend Du Plessis in the books “The Lost Boys of Bird Island” and “Die Seuns Van Bird Island” and for the emotional harm that the publication of the books may have caused the Malan and Wiley families. Follow this link to the relevant apologies.

Categories Non-fiction South Africa South African Current Affairs

Tags Chris Steyn Mark Minnie NB Publishers Tafelberg Tafelberg Publishers The Lost Boys of Bird Island

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  • My name is Petro van der Westhuizen 0761790778
    Ek sien alles is in afrikaans so hierdie ding wat aan my vreet moet ek vir iemand vertel
    Ek was om en by 7 jaar oud toe my ouers vir my tante Ruth in warner Beach gaan kuier het (Dit was my ma se suster) Eendag het my ma , pa en tannie ruth by haar sitkamer venster gestaan en hulle het gepraat oor die kombi wat voor haar huis gestaan het die Kombi het mooi gordyntjies gehad en ‘n ding aan die kant gehad . My pa het gese dit lyk soos ‘n huis se “Gutter” daarin was visstokke . hulle het gepraat van die engels man en malan wat ook betrokke was .. Ek nie veel verstaan nie tot my tante gese het hulle ry gereeld na die eiland toe en sy weet dis nie onskuldig nie. Dat hulle die seuns in die weeshuis gebruik. Alhoewel ek nie dit kon verstaan nie het my pa het my gesien en uit die sitkamer gevat. Net ‘n rukkie daarna het my ma en tannie gaan stap ek was saam. Net buite haar huis het ‘n klein seuntjie gestaan met ‘n pak klere aan. se ses jaar oud. Hy het gebewe van kop en tone. Sy broekhet letterlik gebewe. Ek het my ma gese dat die seuntjie is baie bang en my ma het my eenkant geruk en gese ek moet nie kyk nie. ‘n lang man met bruin hare met ‘n kuif na eenkant het na die seuntjie geloop en om sy skouer gevat en gese hy moenie bang wees nie. Ek het niks verder gesien nie behalwe dat daar ‘nn groterige seun in die Kombi gesit omtrent 14 jaar met lang bene en na die agterkant gesit en kyk. Ek jare daarna kwaad vir my ma gewees omdat sy nie gepraat het nie. Ek onthou nog ander goed maar hierdie is die belanrikste Petro