The truth isn’t always black and white


When I went back to South Africa to work on this book, I set out to find the truth. And to do that, I knew I had to hear all sides of the story.

So I spoke to the ANC powers that be, and the apartheid powers that had been. I spoke to a man whose job it had been to catch black people without the necessary paperwork to live in Knysna, and the women who’d lived in fear of their husbands being caught. I spoke to a mother whose child had been shot dead by the police, and a policeman who’d been there on the night.

One man told me he’d been tortured by the police while in custody. Knysna being such a small town, it wasn’t hard to track down the policeman in question. But when I spoke to him, I heard a very different story.

What soon became clear was that the truth is a very subjective concept.

I shared some of the more conflicting stories with a friend.

‘Who do I believe?’ I asked him.

‘They’re all telling you the truth,’ he said. ‘The truth that they remember.

‘The truth that makes them most right.’