For somebody acquainted with only a broad outline of South Africa’s turbulent past, this blow by blow account of DF Malan’s life, told against the background of the crystallisation of Afrikaner nationalism and its most lethal exponent apartheid, was a real eye-opener. Deeply religious and driven by a strong sense of duty towards his people, Malan was prepared to make great sacrifices to achieve what he believed in: a South African republic where the Afrikaans-speaking community leads economically and culturally viable lives. He navigated the minefields of the country’s volatile political landscape in the first half of the twentieth century with determination that nearly obscures the warped racial ideology which drove him. Although this is Koorts’ first biography, she weaves the individual life story into the larger socio-political context with meticulous skill. At times her narrative reads like a political thriller where the villain is indistinguishable from a hero.
An edited version of this book mark was first published in the Cape Times today, 13 May 2014, p. 32.