The resonance of Call Me Woman is as great in 2018 as when first
published in 1985. Like millions of black South Africans made
strangers in the land of their birth. Ellen Kuzwayo lost a great
deal in her lifetime: the farm in the Orange Free State which had
belonged to her family for nearly a hundred years; her hopes for a
full and peaceful life for her children; even her freedom, when, at
the age of 63, she found herself detained under the so-called
Terrorism Act for an offence never specified. But she never lost
This remarkable autobiography refuses to lose focus
only on the author, for it draws on the unrecorded history of a
whole people. In telling her own personal and political story over
70 years. Ellen Kuzwayo speaks for, and with, the women among whom
she worked and lived. Their courage and dignity remain a source of
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