It’s the story of South Africa’s first high treason trial since 1994, when the country attained democracy. There were 23 accused men when the trial started, of which 14 of them are still behind bars. The group of right-wingers, functioning under the name Boeremag, had planned for months to launch a coup in the country. They also attempted to assassinate former president Nelson Mandela.
I covered the trial for three years, but found myself visiting the alleged mastermind behind bars for the past six years – which has been a wacky, insightful journey. Since there were so many accused in the trial, there has never been a concise record of how they wanted to topple the democratic government – until now. I have spent the last year ploughing through tens of thousands of papers from the court transcripts, to piece together the different versions and events as they played out in 2001/2002. Through being in court for so many years, I learned more about the inner dynamics of the trial, which was characterized by betrayal, frustration and families being torn apart.
The book is a narrative nonfiction work, with historical, political, cultural and journalistic influences. It’s an interesting perspective in the current global political landscape, where populism has become an emerging political narrative.
I moved to the South African bushveld with my husband last year, after many years of being on deadline and chasing the news in cities. Since living here, I have gained an immense appreciation for wildlife. Having spent the majority of my time on writing a nonfiction work, I decided that I need to work on a lighter project – queue Children’s Book! This project tells the story of young animals on a quest in the African bushveld, bringing together my favorite animals and their quirky characteristics. It’s educational, but not in-your-face. The vision is that it will entertain kids and teach them to appreciate the little things that one can learn from animals.
UKWELI DIARIES – TRAVEL BLOG
My husband and I are planning an epic 2-month trip to Namibia and the Central Kalahari this year, where the roads are rough, tough and unexplored. I have started the conceptual stages to bring Ukweli Diaries to life, as an on-the-road memoir of sorts while exploring Southern Africa for the first time. I’ve also learned on a recent trip to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, that there are many crucial tips that don’t seem to be published for first-timers, to such raw and rural areas.
The word Ukweli, is the Swahili word for “Truth”. My family used to live in Kenya for close to a decade and I lost a piece of my heart in East Africa every time I went to visit. So much so, that I had the word Ukweli tattooed on my ankle after a trip. So, it’s the “Truth Diaries”, a project that I am incredibly excited about. We’ll be sleeping on a tent on our car’s roof, hopefully waking up to lions around the car. A lot of writing and video-taking will be done. Hooray!