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Smoking

Norma Kitson, 7 March 1985

... I had to leave them with the sergeant at the desk. ‘I want to see him,’ I said. ‘Ag, no Mrs Kitson,’ the sergeant laughed. ‘There’s no visiting detainees. You have to see the Colonel about that. Go and see Colonel Klindt.’ He laughed again as he took the food basket off the counter and placed it somewhere underneath. The next morning, 24 June, I ...

Masimba

Norma Kitson, 20 February 1986

... You’ve probably often heard tell of the day when the Prime Monster of South Africa visited the people at Stinkhole Bantustan. Because that was an historic occasion – because of the honour of it. So I know you won’t mind hearing about it all over again. A story is a strange thing that depends on the teller. One person leaves the important bit to the end, another puts it in the middle and another will leave it out altogether ...

A Free Translation

Craig Raine, 22 January 1981

... for Norma Kitson) Seeing the pagoda of dirty dinner plates, I observe my hands under the kitchen tap as it they belonged to Marco Polo: glib with soap, they speak of details from a pillow book, the fifty-seven ways in which the Yin receives the Yang. Rinsed and purified, they flick off drops like a court magician whose stretching fingers seek to hypnotise the helpless house ...

The End

Angela Carter, 18 September 1986

A Land Apart: A South African Reader 
edited by André Brink and J.M. Coetzee.
Faber, 252 pp., £9.95, August 1986, 0 571 13933 7
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Where Sixpence lives 
by Norma Kitson.
Chatto, 352 pp., £9.95, September 1986, 0 7011 3085 7
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... you. One hundred per cent. The John Matthews of the poem ends up with a sentence of 15 years. Norma Kitson’s husband, David Kitson, was sentenced to 20 years for work connected with the early days of the ANC. Like Dulcie, she was a hundred per cent behind him and remained so. Her spirit is unquenchable, even if ...

End of an Elite

R.W. Johnson, 21 March 1996

Slovo: The Unfinished Autobiography 
by Joe Slovo.
Hodder, 253 pp., £18.99, February 1996, 0 340 66566 1
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... Uncle Joe, but there is no doubt that Slovo was capable of great ruthlessness. When David Kitson emerged from twenty years in jail for his part in the armed struggle – he had refused to flee the country and carried on the fight as a member of the MK High Command – he was told by the Party on reaching London that his first duty must be to denounce ...

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