Memory is the Weapon
The story of Sophiatown has been told before but never with the eloquence that Don Mattera brings to Memory is the Weapon. Many faces make up the whole that was Sophiatown: teeming with political campaigns, bristling with the knives of the underworld and vigorous with the enterprise of ordinary people eking out a living for themselves, all this contributing to a burgeoining culture. Mattera captures it all in colourful and often heart-rending vignettes. These are the memories of a man who has touched the cloaks of the holy and the unholy, broken bread with the rich and the poor, crossed swords with the law and the lawless. The death of Sophiatown will remain an indictment of callousness and cruelty. That it is able to live on in the hearts and minds of generations to come is a proud tribute to the culture and artists it produced.
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Abram African African National Congress Afrikaans Alexandra Township Anglican apartheid arrested baas Basotho became blood Boers boys bulldozers called Catholic cell child Chinese Christmas church coloured crowd Dai-Sok death deep dogs Dumazile Durban eyes face Father Huddleston fear fight friends gang members gave Gerty Street girl going Graaff Reinet grandpa granny hands head heart huge Indian jail Johannesburg kaffir kap-kwai killed knew knife Kofifi Koukie laughed lived looked loved Mamba Mattera Meadowlands mother moved murder never Newclare night Nkosi Sikelele nodded Number Four pain parents Pietersen Pinocchio police policemen political Potgieter priest prison shook shot shouted smiled Sophiatown South Africa spoke stabbed stood strange told Transvaal Indian Congress Trevor Huddleston tsotsi taal Tswana uncle Verwoerd violence voice Vrededorp Vultures walked wanted watched Western Native Township woman women words yard young Zorro Zulu