January 27, 2021


I wrote a short book review of this interesting book for the Bulletin of National Library of South Africa. The reactions to it amuse me if nothing else.

I find it limiting how South Africans want book reviews to be hagiographic. It seems that even our reading habits are informed by the need to feed our confirmation biases and all.

It is such a shame that the BNLSA is not widely distributed on bookshops through out the country because it has a wealth of historical information. It is also my window into what is happening within the historical departments of our academic institutions. I often find people blame our historians for promoting colonial or apartheid narrattives. Most of the time they'll be talking about books published in the 40s or something. In actual fact you'll be blown out of your mind how progressive the majority of our modern historians are these days.

Personally I feel my review of A Sin of Omission was postive, naturally I made what I believed to be constructive criticism where I felt it was merited, and to explain my certain discomfort as a Xhosa about the depiction of characters like Malusi and  Mzamo.

Unfortunately for my critics I am not in a habit of answering back on book criticism or reviews. I make my point once and for all and then leave it at that. It is nice though to see the kind of reactions one's writing provokes, even the vitroly mostly amuses me when it is not personalised, after all, as the African proverb says, the higher a monkey climbs up the tree the more it reveals.