A
 
Web www.artsmart.co.za
A R T S M A R T
arts news from kwazulu-natal

literature
www.artsmart.co.za
enquiries@artsmart.co.za
 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
 

NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

DANCING TO A DIFFERENT RHYTHM (article first published : 2006-06-23)

Zarina Maharaj, wife of fallen ANC icon Mac, has clearly lived “in interesting times”, as the Chinese curse goes. Dancing to a Different Rhythm is a memoir of her childhood, her exile, and her life in the struggle both before and after her marriage to Mac. The story ends on a bitter note with the events following the Hefer Commission, and the Maharaj’s subsequent fall from the grace and favour of the ruling faction of the ANC.

Zarina Maharaj does not write badly and is clearly an accomplished and idealistic woman. By her account she left a promising academic career in the UK in order to teach in the newly-liberated Mozambique, where she met Mac. But her story, so full of famous names and terrible history, somehow felt flat and lifeless in parts, despite being told as a love story set amidst great dangers. In truth, the dull parts mainly concern the affairs of the party, for there is much in the book - especially concerning Maharaj and her family - that is both intriguing and moving.

Of particular note here is Zarina Maharaj’s remarkable mother Jo, and an account of growing up in 50’s Fordsburg with a wide-boy for a father. Grotesque gleams of this time include a white woman smashing the Nat King Cole records she borrowed from Jo when she discovered that the crooner was black.

Later Zarina tells of the constant fear and vigilance occasioned by the apartheid governments assassins and spies, who claimed more than a few of her comrades and friends. A recurring theme throughout the book is the effect that exile, insecurity, sacrifice, and danger have had on the Maharaj children.

This accounts for much of Zarina’s bitterness when discussing those responsible for the ‘casting out’ of Mac Maharaj by the party, and herself and her family by association. But here she fails the reader. Like every other ANC dissident she gives her audience hints and innuendo but coyly - which is not to say, honourably - refuses to name names.

Also, who is the “young, leading member of the ANC” in exile in London, who approached Maharaj with the line: “Prove you are not a racist by sleeping with me”?

Dancing to a Different Rhythm ISBN 1-77007-108-3 is published in soft cover by Zebra and retails at R139.95. – David Wood




 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
a co-production by caroline smart services and .durbanet. site credits
copyright © subsists in this page. all rights reserved. [ edit ] copyright details  artsmart