From Sharpville to Rivonia

James Currey


We send all orders via Royal Mail: within the UK, choose from 1st Class, 2nd Class or Special Delivery; for the rest of the world, International Standard or International Tracked. Delivery and packaging charges are calculated automatically at the checkout.

To collect orders in person from the Bookshop, choose Click and Collect at the checkout.

The Merlin Press Ltd
9 March 2021
ISBN: 9780850367584
220 pages

From the publisher

1959 was the year James Currey arrived in South Africa and found a nation in crisis. Hopes of change rose and foundered over the next five years. Letters and vivid conversations capture the excitement of daily life and political drama.

The extra-parliamentary opposition had used non-violent means of protest since 1952, but on 21 March 1960 the police shot and killed 69 peaceful protesters in Sharpeville. It was a turning point. In March 1960 some 35,000 Africans protested in Cape Town and the police responded with further savagery. Shortly after, Randolph Vigne, Neville Rubin, Tim Holmes and James Currey founded The New African, a radical review of politics and the arts. The intense comings and goings of a small magazine served as effective cover for acts of sabotage.

In July 1964, Randolph Vigne appealed to Clare and James to enable him to escape. Clare had no hesitation; 'Randolph and Gillian are our friends,' she said. James used his British passport to buy a ticket on a Norwegian freighter so that Vigne could travel to Montreal. Two days later Clare and James flew out of Johannesburg.