Under Our Skin: A White Family's Journey Through South Africa's Darkest Years Donald McRae
The true story of an ordinary white family living under apartheid in South Africa, torn apart by an extraordinary country. Don McRae came of age in a South Africa where his father would call the black men he met 'boy' and where his mother gave their black servants old tin mugs and metal plates for their meals in the backyard. The McRaes, like so many white people, seemed oblivious to the violent injustices of apartheid. As the author grew up, the political differences between father and son widened and when Don refused to join up for National Service, risking imprisonment or exile overseas, the two were torn apart. The detention and torture of two young white doctors, Neil Aggett and Liz Floyd, then unhinged the family in dramatic circumstances. At John Vorster Square, the notorious security police headquarters in Johannesburg, the couple suffered a terrible and haunting fate. Years later, the author discovered that the father with whom he had fought so bitterly had transformed himself into a political hero. Risking everything one dark and rainy night, Ian McRae travelled secretly into the black township of Soweto to meet members of Nelson Mandela's then banned African National Congress, trying to bring power to black South Africa. He had no political ambitions; he was just a man trying to replace the worst in himself with something better. Under Our Skin is a memoir of these tumultuous years in South Africa's history, told through the author's family. It offers an intimate and penetrating perspective on life under apartheid, and tells a story of courage and fear, hope and love, especially between a father and his son.