Synopses & Reviews
If the Mandelas were the generals in the fight for black liberation, the Mashininis were the foot soldiers. Theirs is a story of exile, imprisonment, torture, and loss, but also of dignity, courage, and strength in the face of appalling adversity. Originally published in Great Britain to critical acclaim, A Burning Hunger: One Family's Struggle Against Apartheid
tells a deeply moving human story and is one of the seminal books about the struggle against apartheid.
This family, Joseph and Nomkhitha Mashinini and their thirteen children, became immersed in almost every facet of the liberation struggleand#151;from guerrilla warfare to urban insurrection. Although Joseph and Nomkhitha were peaceful citizens who had never been involved in politics, five of their sons became leaders in the antiapartheid movement. When the students of Soweto rose up in 1976 to protest a new rule making Afrikaans the language of instruction, they were led by charismatic young Tsietsi Mashinini. Scores of students were shot down and hundreds were injured. Tsietsi's actions on that day set in motion a chain of events that would forever change South Africa, define his family, and transform their lives.
A Burning Hunger shows the human catastrophe that plagued generations of black Africans in the powerful story of one religious and law-abiding Soweto family. Basing her narrative on extensive research and interviews, Lynda Schuster richly portrays this remarkable family and in so doing reveals black South Africa during a time of momentous change.
"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." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
and#147;A major contribution to the history of the struggle era, giving a human face to a family that was idolized by black South Africans and demonized in white South Africa.and#8221;
and#151; Business Day
and#147;A compelling story of a South African family that became deeply involved in this deadly, seemingly unending battle between black Africans and whitesand#133;. the accounts impressively combine to form one intensely felt narrative of life in apartheid South Africa.and#8221;
and#151; The Historian
and#147;A Burning Hunger
is a vital reminder of one of the most intense political struggles in living memory. It's fascinating, triumphant and ultimately very sad.and#8221;
and#151; Time Out
and#147;Of all the valuable books I have read, Schusterand#8217;s was the first to draw me so close that I could smell the burning tyres that barricaded Soweto streets that week; I could smell the thick smoke of burning shops and police vehiclesand#151;all coupled with a family's burning hunger for survival.and#8221;
and#147;This is modern history written for a broad readership, and not necessarily an African one.and#8221;
and#151; Sunday Independent
and#147;It is strange that no South African writer has thought of doing what Lynda Schuster, an American journalist, has done so well in this bookand#151;follow through the history of a black family in the context of the anti-apartheid struggle.and#8221;
and#151; The Sunday Times
and#147;The great strength of the book is its narrative lineand#133;. Shuster did almost one hundred interviews and one feels as if one is seeing exile through the eyes of Tsietsi, Rocks, and Dee, and the emerging South Africa via Mpho and Tshepisoand#133;. In this, she has given us a remarkable senseand#151;national, international, and personaland#151;of late apartheid era South Africa and its exiles.and#8221;
and#151; International Journal of African Historical Studies
and#147;A Burning Hunger
is the history of a South African family that suffered, resisted and finally triumphed over apartheid: a book that is as fascinating as the best novels.and#8221;
and#151; Mario Vargas Llosa
On June 16, 1976, the youth of Soweto rose up in protest against a new rule making Afrikaans the language of instruction in their schools. Tsietsi Mashinini, a charismatic high school student, led them in demonstrations that quickly turned into South Africa's biggest rebellion. Tsietsi's actions on that day set in motion a chain of events that changed his country irrevocably and forever defined his family. From that moment onward, the Mashinini name became the stuff of legend; many of Tsietsi's twelve siblings and even his parents, law-abiding, church-going citizens, found themselves pulled inexorably into the fight against apartheid. Originally published in the United Kingdom to critical acclaim, A Burning Hunger tells the tale of this remarkable family. It is the story of black South Africa in microcosm, embracing just about every facet of the liberation struggle. Tsietsi and his brothers became leading players in everything from guerrilla warfare to urban insurrection.
This is an acclaimed account of a family of foot soldiers for black liberation in South Africa, whose lives were changed in the Soweto uprising. Published originally in the UK to wide reviews, this is its first publication in the U. S.
About the Author
Lynda Schuster worked as a foreign correspondent for the Wall Street Journal and the Christian Science Monitor in Africa, Central and South America, and the Middle East. Her writing has appeared in Granta, Utne, and the Atlantic Monthly. She now lives in Gainesville, Florida.