When They Came For Me: The Hidden Diary of an Apartheid Prisoner by John R Schlapobersky – a record of its time with lessons for ours
More about the book!
When They Came For Me: The Hidden Diary of an Apartheid Prisoner by John R Schlapobersky is out in June 2021 from Jonathan Ball Publishers.
‘An exquisitely written memoir about human endurance, survival, repair and transcendence.’ – Albie Sachs
‘When They Came For Me is many things – the tale of an ordinary young man swept one day from his life into hell, testimony to the wickedness a political system let loose in its agents and, above all, an intimate account of how a man became a healer.’ – Jonny Steinberg
In 1969, while a student at Wits University, Schlapobersky was arrested for opposing apartheid. Thrown into a world that it is hard to believe ever existed, he was tortured, detained in solitary confinement and eventually deported.
Half a century later, Schlapobersky sat down to write about what happened to him at 21.
Calling on memory and two diaries he kept at the time – one written on toilet paper and the other in the Bible he was allowed – he describes being interrogated through sleep deprivation day and night and later writing secretly in solitary confinement. He remembers the singing of the condemned prisoners, and revisits the poetry, songs and texts that saw him through his ordeal. He reconstructs, in moving detail, the struggle for survival that finally transformed his life and supplements this with detailed research.
Schlapobersky is now a leading psychotherapist and author and works closely with those who have similar histories.
When They Came For Me is a vital historical document: a record of its time with lessons for ours.
About the author
John R Schlapobersky is a Consultant Psychotherapist. He was given the Alonso Award for the outstanding publication in psychodynamic group therapy for his book From the Couch to the Circle: Group-Analytic Psychotherapy In Practice (Routledge 2016).