True Confessions, End Papers and the Dakar conference: A review of the political arguments

  • H Giliomee
Keywords: Afrikaans literature, Dakar conference, National Party, African National Congress, South Africa, violence, negotiations.


As a social critic Breyten Breytenbach published two books of political commentary and political analysis during the mid-1980s without the opportunity of engaging with commentators at home. While True Confessions of an Albino Terrorist is part autobiography and part searing comment on prison life, End Papers is a more detached dissection of the major political and cultural issues confronting South Africa. Breytenbach was now one of the respected international voices on the political crisis in South Africa. The violent break-up of apartheid had changed Breytenbach’s social criticism. In the place of the earlier rejection and denunciation had come a willingness to engage and reason with his audience. The Dakar conference of 1987, which Breytenbach co-organised, offered an ideal opportunity for this. The conference was given wide publicity and was seen by some as the catalyst that broke the ice for the negotiations between the government and the ANC two and a half years later.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2309-9070
print ISSN: 0041-476X