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Announcing the Inaugural André Brink Memorial Lecture, to be delivered at this year's @FranLitFest

Gorry Bowes Taylor Reviews The Verwoerd Who Toyi-toyied by Melanie Verwoerd

The Verwoerd Who Toyi-toyiedVerdict: carrot

At two important junctions in her life, Melanie Verwoerd was told to keep quiet. But she had promised two men she loved and admired – Nelson Mandela and Ireland’s celebrity radio presenter Gerry Ryan – that she would not be silenced.

As a Stellenbosch schoolgirl Melanie met Wilhelm, grandson of HF Verwoerd, and at 20 she married him. In the turbulernt early 1990s, the two young Verwoerds did the unthinkable by joining the recently unbanned ANC. Disowned by his family and friends and ostracized by the Stellenbosch community, Melanie persisted on her chosen path. She served in the first non-racial parliament under Mandela, an experience, often surprisingly funny.

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