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Death of an Idealist: In Search of Neil Aggett

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Death of an Idealist: In search of Neil Aggett is the story behind the only white detainee to die in custody of apartheid’s security police. A medical doctor who worked most of the week as an unpaid trade union organiser, Neil Aggett’s stark non-materialism, shared by his partner Dr Elizabeth Floyd, aroused the suspicions. When their names appeared on a list of ‘Close Comrades’ prepared for ANC leaders in exile they were among a swathe of union activists detained in 1981.
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Death Of An Idealist: In Search Of Neil Aggett is the story behind the only white detainee to die in custody of apartheid's security police.

A medical doctor who worked most of the week as an unpaid trade union organiser, Neil Aggett's stark non-materialism, shared by his partner Dr Elizabeth Floyd, aroused the suspicions. When their names appeared on a list of 'Close Comrades' prepared for ANC leaders in exile they were among a swathe of union activists detained in 1981. Beverley Naidoo traces the transformation of the youngest child born to settler parents in Kenya at the height of Mau Mau resistance to colonial rule.

The book explores the metamorphosis of a high-achieving, sports-loving white schoolboy into the 28-year-old whose coffin was followed by thousands of workers through Johannesburg to his grave. The extraordinary funeral and the preceding national work stoppage were a watershed for trade union unity. First-hand interviews reveal the fraught, intense world of activists inside the country in the late '70s and early '80s as the ANC-in-exile pushed to link with emerging black unions. Neil's non-materialism and his concern about to whom union organisers should be democratically accountable still demand engagement today.

Poignant, personal stories run through this fully-referenced biography of a stoic, stubborn, principled thinker who became a militant yet gentle activist. They include the huge rift with a dominant father who later ploughed his savings into his son's inquest, funding a top legal team led by George Bizos SC who offers the foreword to Death of an Idealist.

Additional Info

Author Beverley Naidoo
Publisher Jonathan Ball Publishers
Place London
Year 2012
ISBN 9781868425198
Binding Paperback
Condition Good

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