Book details apartheid’s harsh reality

Kenneth Alexanders book, Man about Town, was launched on Sunday, October 27.

Athlone artist Kenneth Alexander has gone from painting painful memories about apartheid to putting them into words in his newly launched book Man About Town.

The 12-chapter book was launched at his art gallery, Art in Athlone, on Sunday October 27.

The 242-page book had taken about six months to write, he says.

The book explores the artist’s childhood, where he grew up, where he went to school, and what it
was like growing up under apartheid.

It touches on the everyday realities of apartheid, such as construction workers without dompasses fleeing from approaching police, and events like the Trojan Horse Massacre that sent shock waves around the world.

Kenny says although the book holds many painful memories, it also has funny moments.

The book is meant to inspire others to never give up even when the odds seem stacked against them, he says.

In one part of the book, he describes a painful encounter he had at a bank. “I owed the bank money so I followed people’s advice and went there to sort it out, and then this big white man was so rude to me. He threatened me and told me that he would rather see me naked and homeless than to help me. That really pushed me down and made me feel worthless. As a young man you never bounce back from something like that.”

He writes about how his homes and cars were repossessed by the bank and how he had to build himself up from there again.

Kenny says he wrote the book because he wanted to put his thoughts and memories on paper, using words this time instead of images.

“Talking, and writing takes a load off your shoulders. You need not live in the past, you can move on and forget about what happened.

“The old people used to say ‘praat jou hart uit’ and that’s what I did with this book. I have written it, read, it, saw it and now I speak it. When I read it I think, wow, did I go through all that? Did I live through that abuse and how did I overcome it?”

The book costs R250 and will be available at the Art in Athlone gallery at 84 Thornton Road, Athlone.

For more information, call
Kenneth Alexander at 083 285 1149.