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“Reading is Your Connection to the World”: Zackie Achmat Reveals What He Read While in Prison

Zackie Achmat

 
Zackie Achmat, founder and chairman of the Treatment Action Campaign, has listed the books he read while incarcerated in Victor Verster Prison in 1980 for acting against the apartheid government. In this article for O Magazine, Achmat says, “Reading in prison is your connection to the world. And it still is now, even out of prison.”

Things Fall ApartNo Longer at EaseMine BoyMhudiCry, the Beloved CountryA Grain of WheatA Man of the PeopleThe River Between
 

Achmat read many European and African classics, including The Rebel by Albert Camus, Hard Times by Charles Dickens, Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, No Longer at Ease and A Man of the People, Sol Plaatje’s Mhudi, Peter Abrahams’ Mine Boy, Alan Paton’s Cry the Beloved Country and A Grain of Wheat, The River Between and Secret Lives and Other Stories by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o.

When Zackie Achmat was incarcerated in Victor Verster Prison, Paarl, in 1980, he read widely to ease his loneliness and increase both his personal and political development. He says, “Reading in prison is your connection to the world. And it still is now, even out of prison.”

Here, he shares the list of the titles he read.

The Fixer, by Bernard Malamud
The Rebel, by Albert Camus
Man and His Symbols, by Carl Jung
Hard Times, by Charles Dickens

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