Cry Freedom - John Briley
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Where the River Buffalo flows into the warm Indian Ocean, on the south-east coast of South Africa, lies the city of East London, with its wonderful climate, beautiful sandy beaches, clear sea, and evergreen trees. It is the home, too, of the Daily Dispatch, the respected newspaper which in November 1975 began a new battle with the South African Government.
Donald Woods, editor of the Daily Dispatch, sat at his desk looking at the stories for the front page of tomorrow's newspaper. There was a story on the government's refusal of a new appeal for the release of Nelson Mandela. There was also a story on the pardon for Richard Nixon by President Ford of the United States of America, which Woods had intended to use as the main story. But news had just come in of a police raid on the black township called Crossroads, in Cape Town, more than a thousand kilometres away on the south-west tip of South Africa. Woods moved the stories around on his desk. He would make the Crossroads story the main story, and move news of a Japanese factory in Durban to the back page.
'Boss!' Ken Robertson, one of the journalists on the Daily Dispatch, burst into the office and threw a bundle of photographs on to Woods' desk. He lit a cigarette and began to smoke as Woods looked through the photographs.
They were pictures of the police raid on Crossroads: a woman holding a baby in her arms in front of her wrecked home; two policemen beating a boy; an old man sitting in an armchair, with broken walls around him; a policeman with a whip chasing a girl; a bulldozer smashing through a tiny kitchen.
Woods looked up at Ken in amazement. 'How did you get these?'
Ken smiled. 'I got them. Do we dare use them?'
Woods examined the pictures again. In Cape Town black workers could get work without work permits. Some of these workers brought their families with them, which was also against the law, and built a room for them out of wooden boxes or bits of tin. White employers benefited from the low wages the illegal workers accepted. However, from time to time, so that the town did not become permanent, the police came with whips and burning tear gas, forcing the men into police buses and moving them out of the city. Then the bulldozers came to tear apart the houses made of wooden boxes, and bits of tin.
Woods suddenly smiled. 'I'll print them,' he said. 'I'll even put your name underneath them.'
'Thanks!' Ken responded. 'If the police pick me up, your name will be the first on my lips!'
The law did not allow newspapers to print photographs of police beating black people, but if there were enough violent pictures the government sometimes let the matter drop in order to prevent the newspapers giving the public more information.
'Come on, tell me. How did you get these?' Woods demanded once more, staring at Ken through his glasses. His thick grey hair made him look older than his forty-two years.
'The newspaper will have to pay my expenses, that's all I can say about it. Drinking is the hardest part of my job!' Ken picked up one of the photographs. It showed a wall, covered with large pictures of the serious, handsome face of a young black man, with the name BIKO underneath. 'What about Mr Biko?' Ken asked. 'Will you use his name?'
'Was Mr Biko meeting his supporters in Crossroads?'
'I think so. I was told that his name was everywhere.'
Woods sat back in his chair and took off his glasses for a moment. 'No. Leave him out of the story. I want to write about him and his Black Consciousness in an editorial.'
Ken nodded and left the room with the pictures. Woods turned back to his desk. Woods did not believe that black people should be allowed to vote. He accepted the laws that forced blacks and whites to live in separate areas. But he had been trained as a lawyer, and he did not like police brutality against black people. He would put one of Ken's pictures at the top in the centre of the front page.
Newspapers all over South Africa used Ken's pictures of the raid on Crossroads. Woods received lots of phone calls — threats from the police, unknown callers making threats on his life, occasional words of congratulations from editors of other newspapers. The editorial attacking Stephen Biko, however, won approval from everyone. Or so Woods thought.
Mamphela Ramphele marched confidently into the offices of the Daily Dispatch. She was dressed in jeans and a white shirt and she looked beautiful. When she came to the receptionist's desk, she threw a newspaper down in front of Ann Hobart.
'I would like to know who's responsible for this,' she demanded.
Ann looked at the paper. It was folded to show Woods' editorial on Biko: BANTU STEPHEN BIKO — THE UGLY THREAT OF BLACK RACISM.
'Doctor Mamphela Ramphele,' she said, showing Ann her card. 'And I won't leave until he sees me.'
Ann hesitated. She was annoyed by this black woman who had so much confidence. But she picked up the phone. 'There's a Dr Ramphele wishing to speak to you, Mr Woods,' she said coldly.
Woods assumed that Dr Ramphele was an old man with some story to tell. 'Please send him in,' he answered.
Woods glanced up from his work as Ann opened the door and announced Dr Ramphele, and was amazed to see an angry young woman marching towards him.
Mamphela put the editorial on the desk in front of Woods. 'I've been reading this paper long enough to know that you're not one of the worst white journalists. So I'm surprised to think you would write such rubbish!'
Woods recovered from his surprise. 'Well, Dr Ramphele, I've written against white prejudice, and if you think I'm going to ignore black prejudice, then you're complaining to the wrong man!'
'Black prejudice!' Mamphela exploded in anger. 'That's not what Steve Biko believes in at all! Don't you find out the facts first, before you print?'
'I think I do understand what Mr Biko believes in!' Woods began angrily.
'Well, you understand wrong!' Mamphela interrupted. 'And he can't come to you, since he is banned. If you want to find out the truth, you ought to go and see him!'
Woods looked at Mamphela in silence. She was beautiful, intelligent, and full of confidence. 'Where are you from?' he asked at last, the anger gone from his voice.
'From here. From South Africa.' Mamphela was still angry. 'I was one of two from my tribal area to be given a place at Natal Medical School. I am an example of your white concern for the black people of this land.'
Woods almost lost his temper. Then he sighed, sat back in his chair, and threw his pencil down on the desk. 'Well,' he said slowly, 'I'm glad we didn't waste our money.'
Mamphela smiled slightly, the humour dissolving her anger. She moved away from the desk and sat down, staring at Woods as if wondering what to say next. At last she spoke again. 'I know you're not a fool, Mr Woods, but you are uninformed. Steve Biko is one of the few people who can still save South Africa. He's in King William's Town — that's his banning area. You ought to see him.'
Woods thought that her quiet sincerity was as impressive as her previous anger.
The road out of East London to the north gradually rises from the coast to grassy hills, and then descends again to the valley of the Buffalo River, about sixty kilometres from East London. Only whites live in King William's Town itself, of course. Woods, in his white Mercedes, drove through the black township, a few kilometres from the centre of the town, on his way to the address Dr Ramphele had given him. The houses were small and miserable, but the surrounding hills, covered with acacia trees, were beautiful.
Woods drove on, surprised that he was meeting a banned person at an address in the white town. He found the quiet, wide street with trees on both sides. The address was an old church, with small trees around it, and bits of broken fence. Woods parked across the street and stared at it for a moment. He noticed two security policemen under a tree not far away. They were obviously Biko's 'minders' and Woods smiled and waved at them. Biko needed watching, Woods believed, because he aimed to create separate black organizations, which Woods thought dangerous.
Woods got out of the car and walked across the street to the church door. He rang the rusty bell and immediately the door opened.
A young black woman, rather fat, greeted him with a warm smile. 'Mr Woods?'
'Yes. I'm here to see Steve Biko,' Woods said.
A little boy ran to her side, holding on to her skirt and staring shyly at the white man. 'I'm Steve's wife, Ntsiki,' she said, and opened the door wide.
Woods was surprised. Ntsiki was warm and friendly, not the sort of person he expected. He stepped inside the church and received another surprise. Some men and women were painting the walls while others were putting up partitions. Some girls were sewing in one corner of the church; there was a library of old books and magazines in another area; two older men were making children's toys in a third area.
'We're trying to create a centre where black people can meet during the day; maybe learn something, get information about jobs,' Ntsiki said as they walked through the church. The little boy, still holding his mother's skirt, smiled at Woods.
'And who is this one?' Woods asked, smiling down at the boy.
'Oh, this is Nkosinathi. He's sometimes more trouble than his father,' Ntsiki said. She opened a side door, smiling again. 'He's waiting for you, Mr Woods.'
Woods stepped through the door, and the door shut immediately behind him. He looked around, but could see no one. He was in the church yard, untidy with long grass. There was a huge old tree in the centre whose long, green branches touched the ground, the sun shining through the leaves. There was silence, except for the wind blowing through the leaves of the tree.
Woods walked forwards, looking for someone. There was a small building at the other side of the yard, but there was no sign of anyone. Woods began to feel annoyed. Then something near the tree caught his eye. A tall black figure was standing quite still, watching Woods.
'Biko? Are you Steve Biko?' Woods called out.
The person turned away, moving towards the small building. 'Come, follow me.'
Woods felt even more annoyed. He sighed and walked across the yard to the building. He looked through the open door and saw that it was a small office. The man stood in the shadows behind the desk and Woods could not see enough of the face to recognize whether the man was Biko or not. The man's large, dark eyes watched Woods in silence.
'May I come in?' Woods finally asked.
The person nodded.
Woods sighed again and stepped into the office. 'I don't have all day to play games, and I...'
'I would have met you in the church, but as you know I can be with only one person at a time. The System are just across the street.'
Now that they were face to face Woods could see that this man was Biko. He was young and handsome; his deep, dark eyes were alive and sensitive. Woods knew that 'System' was the word blacks used for any white authority — police, government, army — and that Biko was referring to the two security policemen in the street.
'Of course, you approve of my banning,' Biko went on.
Woods was tempted to say: 'You're right!' But he hesitated; he had come to hear Biko's opinions. 'I think your ideas are dangerous; but no, I don't approve of banning,' he said finally.
'A true «liberal»!' Biko declared.
'I'm not ashamed of being a liberal,' Woods responded sharply. 'You disapprove of liberals, I understand.'
Biko smiled. 'Disapproval is too strong a word,' he protested. 'I just think that a white liberal, who holds on to the advantages of his white world — jobs, houses, education, Mercedes — is perhaps not the right person to tell blacks how they should react to the way this country is governed.'
Woods nodded coolly. 'I wonder what kind of liberal you would make, Mr Biko, if you were the one who possessed the house, the job, the Mercedes — and the whites lived in the townships.'
Biko laughed aloud. 'Now that is a charming idea. Whites in the townships and me in a Mercedes.' Then he smiled, warm and sincere as his wife, and put out his hand. 'It was good of you to come, Mr Woods. I've wanted to meet you for a long time.'
Woods hesitated for a moment, observing the quick change in mood, the intelligence, the unexpected sincerity in the eyes and the warmth of the smile. Then he put out his own hand and took Biko's.
It was the beginning.
Education of a Liberal
Later that morning Donald Woods and Steve Biko drove out to Zanempilo, where Biko had started a clinic. Zanempilo was about twenty-five kilometres from King William's Town, in hill country so dry that there were no farms in sight. Biko's 'minders' — the two security policemen — followed in their own car.
Woods glanced at them in the mirror. 'They follow you everywhere?' he asked.
Biko smiled. He put his arm out of the window and waved at the car behind. 'They think they do.'
The clinic at Zanempilo was at the top of a hill. The first thing Woods noticed was the church. In addition, there were three long, low buildings made of wood. A line of people queued outside one of the buildings — women with small children, old men, pregnant women.
Woods parked his car. The police waited further back on the road. 'So this is it?' Woods asked, getting out of the car.
'This is it,' Biko replied. 'A clinic for black people, with black workers, and a black doctor.'
Mamphela came out of the door of one of the buildings. She was in a doctor's white coat, some papers in her hand. She paused and stared at Woods and Biko. Then she nodded at them and turned to her patients.
'Was this place her idea or yours?' Woods challenged, looking at Biko across the top of the car.
'It was an idea that came from all of us,' Biko replied. He looked at Mamphela. 'But we were lucky to get her,' he added.
The clinic was an amazing achievement, anyway, Woods thought. He knew that Biko's Black Consciousness group wanted black people to create their own organizations. But Woods himself believed that South Africa needed organizations where black and white people could work together.
'So if you had a white «liberal» doctor working here, that wouldn't serve your purpose?' Woods asked.
Biko became more serious than Woods had yet heard him.
'When I was a student, I suddenly realized that it wasn't just the job I was studying for that was white. The history we read was made by white men, written by white men. Television, medicine, cars' — he hit the roof of the Mercedes — 'all invented by white men. Even football.' He paused for a moment, 'in a world like that, it is hard not to believe that there is something inadequate about being born black.' He stopped again and then glanced behind him at the two policemen watching him from a distance, 'I began to think that this feeling was a bigger problem than the things the System does to us.' Slowly he turned back to Woods, 'I felt that, first, the black man has to believe he has the same ability to be a doctor — a leader — as a white man.'
Woods nodded. He understood Biko's ideas and he was impressed by the man who had them.
Biko looked at the clinic. 'So we started this clinic. My mistake was to write down some of my ideas.'
'And the government banned you.'
Biko nodded. 'And the white liberal editor started attacking me.'
'I attacked you for your racism, for refusing to work with white liberals,' Woods protested.
Biko smiled. 'How old are you, Mr Woods?' he enquired.
Woods hesitated, a little annoyed by the question. 'Forty- two,' he answered, if that makes any difference.'
Biko stared at him. 'A white South African,' he said slowly. 'A newspaper man, forty-two years old. Have you spent any time in a black township?'
Woods hesitated again. He had driven through a few townships, but no white South African spent any time in one. 'I've… I've been to many...'
Biko smiled. 'Don't be embarrassed. Apart from the police, I don't suppose one white South African in ten thousand has spent any time in a black township.' Biko stopped smiling at Woods' embarrassment and his voice grew warm, as if he were speaking to an old friend. 'You see, we know how you live. We cook your food, clear your rubbish, cut your grass,' he said quietly. 'Would you like to see how we live, the ninety per cent of South Africans who are forced to leave your white streets at six o'clock at night?'
It was not an empty challenge: Biko meant it.
Later that afternoon Woods went home to his swimming pool. Four of his five children were at home, and the three boys — Duncan, Dillon, and Gavin — splashed about with him. Mary, aged five and the youngest of the family, was playing at the side of the pool. Charlie, their big dog, ran up and down, excited by all the noise. At last Woods swam to the edge, the boys chasing him and splashing water at him. Woods got out of the pool and ran quickly to the shower which was in the garden near the pool.
'I'm going to write to your teacher and tell him to give you more work,' Woods shouted to the boys as he turned on the shower.
As he came out of the shower, his wife, Wendy, arrived home with Jane, their eldest child, aged fourteen. Wendy left the shopping in the car and came down the garden to greet Woods.
'Well? What was he like?' Wendy asked, as Charlie jumped up at her.
Woods rubbed his hair with a towel. 'Well, he's like his photographs: young, tall, handsome.'
'Donald! I mean what kind of person is he?' Wendy was more liberal politically than Donald, but she did not agree with Black Consciousness.
Woods sat down. 'I'm not sure. They've built a clinic up there in Zanempilo. Everyone working there is black. You should see it. People come from miles.'
Wendy stared at him doubtfully. 'Where did they get the money?'
'From churches, abroad. From black people. Even some companies gave them some money.'
Amazed, Wendy asked, 'South African companies?'
'That's right,' Woods answered. 'Surprisingly, someone important heard Biko make a speech and was impressed. I must tell you, he is impressive.'
Evalina, their black servant, brought a glass of orange juice for Wendy and put it down on the table. Then she went up the garden to the car, to get the shopping.
'He hasn't convinced you that Black Consciousness is right, has he?' Wendy asked.
Woods hesitated. 'No. But I have agreed to visit a black township with him.'
Wendy was silent, wondering how Biko had persuaded her husband to do this. 'But he's banned,' she said finally. 'How can he go anywhere with you?'
Woods shook his head, smiling at Wendy's amazed face. Then he leaned forward and kissed her. 'I'm not sure. But I intend to find out.'
Biko put on the old brown army coat that all black workers wore, and then pulled on an old hat. Tonight, three weeks after their first meeting, he was going with Woods to a black township outside East London.
'It's not worth the risk, is it, Steve?' Mamphela asked.
Biko smiled. 'The education of a white liberal? It is a duty.'
Mamphela was not amused, 'if you get caught outside your banning area, you go to prison. Mr Woods would only have to write a letter of explanation to the Board of his newspaper.'
'That's what we call justice in South Africa, didn't you know?' Biko replied.
Mamphela smiled at that and sat down at the typewriter. She was working in Biko's office on a speech she was going to give. 'I don't want them to get you in prison again,' she said.
'We won't get caught,' Biko said confidently. 'When I put the light on, someone must sit at my desk and read until I get back, that's all.'
Woods had put on some old clothes for the visit to the black township. He drove out of East London and parked his car in a small country road, about four kilometres from town. There he waited. A few minutes later a black taxi drove up and stopped beside him. The door opened.
'Get in, man!' Mapetla said urgently, and pushed Woods into the back seat. This was not easy, because there were already three black men sitting in it. Mapetla got in after him and banged the door shut.
The car drove away fast, and John Qumza, who was driving, looked in the mirror anxiously. 'Get him down in the middle! We don't want him sitting up there where no one can miss seeing him!'
Roughly, Mapetla pulled Woods down until he was squashed underneath two of the men. Woods had already met Mapetla Mohapi, who worked at the clinic in Zanempilo.
'You said you were going to wear old clothes,' Mapetla said angrily.
'But I am!' Woods protested.
'Give him your hat, Dyani,' Mapetla ordered one of the other men.
Dyani removed the dirty hat from his head and Mapetla pushed it on to Woods' grey hair.
'Pull it all the way down at the back!' John shouted from the driver's seat. John Qumza had first met Biko at university and was one of the leaders of the black student organization which Biko led.
Mapetla pulled the hat down at the back of Woods' head.
Woods was so squashed that he could not move his hands to adjust the hat himself. 'You might just push the hair out of my eyes, too,' he asked, and Mapetla smiled for the first time.
The car was a black taxi. The law said that some taxis were for blacks and some for whites only. Black taxis were usually very old cars and usually carried as many passengers as could be squashed in them. John turned down another small road and Biko stepped out from behind some small acacia trees. He got into the front seat, and one of the men already in the front seat sat on his knees. There were now four men in the front seat and five in the back.
Biko turned round and glanced at Woods. 'You comfortable enough?'
Everyone laughed. 'Hell, he's got the best seat,' Mapetla declared.
'Listen, I'm quite comfortable,' Woods said, in his own defence. 'I was brought up in a black Homeland, you know.'
'I know,' Biko responded. 'You only drive that Mercedes because of the neighbours. A white liberal like you really wants to ride in buses and taxis like us.'
Everyone laughed again. There was an atmosphere of fun and adventure in the taxi as the men joked with each other. But as the taxi reached the black township outside East London, and moved slowly in a long, dusty line of buses and taxis, the mood changed. They were all silent as they stared out at the crowds of people walking through the little streets. As Woods looked at all those black faces, tired and unsmiling, he felt that the whole black world, which he had believed he knew so well, had a life he was totally unaware of. It was getting dark now, and they drove through the streets until most of them were empty and the evening rush was over.
'Let's stretch our legs,' Biko said at last. John stopped the car and they all got out stiffly, bending and stretching their arms and legs.
Finally, Biko stood up and looked at Woods, his eyes searching his face. Then he smiled tightly. 'Let's take a walk.'
He led Woods off the main street, down a little side path. John and Mapetla walked behind them, guarding them. They moved along between the little houses, some with electric lights, others with oil lamps. Smoke from wood fires hung over the whole area. Several old men were cooking over fires outside. Women carried buckets of water from taps on the street. Men stood at their doors, watching the street. Twice they saw gangs of black youths walking the streets, looking for trouble. It was a new world to Woods.
They turned a corner and saw a little boy looking out of the door of one of the houses. He checked the street for danger — looking at Woods and Biko — and then ran as fast as he could to another house down the street.
Biko spoke for the first time. 'Run, son, run,' he said quietly, as they watched the boy go. He turned to Woods. 'Most of the women here work as domestic servants, so they see their children for a couple of hours on Sundays, that's all. This place is full of violence. I'm amazed that children survive here at all.'
'Were you brought up in a township?' Woods enquired.
'Mostly. My father died when I was seventeen and I went away for two years to a school where I was taught by German and Swiss priests. But if you do survive in a township and you get the education the white man gives you, then you go to work in their city — you see their houses, their streets, their cars. And you begin to feel there is something not quite right about you. Something to do with your blackness. Because no matter how stupid or how clever a white child is, he is born into his white world. But you, the black child, clever or stupid, are born into this… and, clever or stupid, you will die in it...'
Biko's eyes turned to Woods. Woods did not try to respond to Biko's words and they walked on silently. Then Biko spoke again. 'And even to stay in a legal township like this one, the white boss must sign your pass every month, the white government tells you which house to live in and what the rent is. You can never own land or pass anything on to your children. The land belongs to the white man… and you, all you have got to give your children is this...' And Biko touched the black skin of his face.
Woods had never before understood the emptiness, the despair of the black community. Biko's words made him feel it that night, all around him, like something living.
'Come on,' Biko said a little later. 'I'm taking you to eat with a black family here.'
The little township house they went to was divided into four rooms. It was the home of Tenjy Mtintso, a tiny, pretty girl of twenty who worked as a nurse at the clinic in Zanempilo, and she was there to greet them. A big family lived in those four rooms: father, mother, son; aunt, uncle and three children; four other cousins.
The meal itself was a meat soup with rice and bread, served on big plates. There was no electricity in the house but two oil lamps hung from the ceiling. Biko served beer to everyone, smiling and putting his arms round Tenjy's aunt. It was a noisy and happy meal.
'You know, this feels like home to me,' Woods said. 'My father had a shop in a Homeland, and we were often the only white family for miles.' Woods wanted to impress them, but what he did not say was that in all those years he had never eaten with a black family.
'Homelands are not home to us, and the land is no good; that's why the government wants us to go and live there,' Mapetla declared.
After dinner the women washed the dishes, bringing water from an outside tap and heating it on the cooker. Then, they began to wash their work clothes. The men sat and talked, some sitting in chairs, others on the floor.
'I'll tell you what happened when the white man first came to Africa,' Mapetla began. 'First, he says, «Do you mind if I pass through here?»
«Hell, no, man,» we say. «This land belongs to God.» Then he comes back.
«Do you mind if I bring my wife and children?»
«Of course not,» we say. «There's lots of land. We're just going to hunt over the hills for a couple of days.» Then the white man finds a place he likes and builds a fence around it. «I'm going to have a farm here,» he says.
«OK,» we say. «We'll just move round you, friend.» Then the white man moves his fences outwards and says,
«Look, when you go by you disturb my cattle. Don't come this way.» We move off. But then the white man gets his gun and says,
«Listen, we can't have people moving about all over the place like this. You must have a pass, so we know who is coming and going».'
Woods smiled, looking at Biko who was sitting on the floor near him. 'I'm not defending the past. But if you stopped listening to Steve Biko and let us liberals gradually fit you into our society, then...'
Tenjy put down the bucket of water she was carrying. 'Yes. You want to give us a slightly better education, so we can get slightly better jobs...'
'At first, maybe,' Woods said. 'But only at first. In the long...'
John interrupted. 'First or last. What you are saying is that your society is better than ours, so you liberals are going to teach us how to do things your way.'
'We don't want to be put into your society,' Biko said forcefully. 'I am going to be me — as I am — and you can put me in prison, or even kill me, but I'm not going to be what you want me to be.'
There were no smiles now, and Woods felt the anger in the room. He tried to remain calm and reasonable. 'There are some advantages in our society: fewer white babies die, and we have more...'
'Guns and bombs and anxiety,' Biko interrupted. 'You can blow up the whole earth if one man makes a mistake. In your white society, when you knock on someone's door, if he is a nice person he will say, «What can I do for you?» He assumes that people are there to get something from him. But we don't think that way. We just say, «Come on in!» We like people. We don't think that life is an endless competition.'
Woods laughed, and Biko responded with a smile.
'You say you were brought up with blacks. Have you noticed that all our songs are group songs? — not someone singing to the moon about how lonely he is.'
Woods laughed again, and nodded.
Tenjy had finished washing her work clothes and now began to hang them above the cooker to dry for tomorrow. 'We know the great white powers have given the world industry and medicine,' she said, and paused to look at Woods. 'But maybe our society has something to give others, too, by teaching people how to live together. We don't want to lose that.'
'She's right,' Tenjy's uncle said. 'This is an African country. Let us have our place, in our own way, and then we will come together with our white brothers and sisters and find a way to live in peace. It cannot be just your way.'
'That sounds fair,' Woods admitted. 'But you can't go back. The twentieth century is marching on for all of us.'
'But we want to march to our own time,' Mapetla declared bitterly. 'The best you want for us is to sit at your table with your knives and forks; and if we learn to do it right, you will kindly let us stay. We want to wipe the table clean. It is an African table. We are going to sit at it in our own right.'
Woods stared silently at Mapetla. He had never heard such bitterness before and he tried to accept Mapetla's anger.
John touched his hand. 'You will sit at that table, too. We know this is your home as it is our home. But you will not sit as the boss, but as one of the family.'
Woods sighed. 'I'm relieved that you are planning to allow us to sit at all!'
Everyone smiled at this remark and Tenjy's uncle poured more beer into Woods' glass. 'You understand our language,' he said; 'you know that the word we use for nephew is «my brother's son». Tenjy calls my wife not «aunt» but «mother's sister». We have no separate words for members of the family — all begin with «brother» and «sister». And we look after each other.'
Woods had learned the language as a boy and he knew that this was true. He realized now that it was perhaps a way of keeping the family together.
'In our traditional villages there were no starving men,' Mapetla added. 'The land belonged to everyone. No one slept on the streets, no children were abandoned.'
Tenjy stopped as she passed with some more clothes to wash. 'We got a lot of things right that your society has never solved.'
Woods smiled at her. 'You did have tribal wars, you know, in this perfect land of yours.'
'What do you call the First World War and the Second World War?' Biko asked.
There was a moment of silence and then they all laughed. 'You all put the words together well — but there's something about it that frightens me,' Woods said.
'Of course there is,' Mapetla responded, in your world everything white is normal — the way the world should be — and everything black is wrong, or some kind of mistake.'
'And your real achievement', Biko added, 'is that for years you've convinced most of us of that idea, too.'
Woods felt that this was not the whole truth. 'You're being unfair to a lot of people who...'
But Biko did not let him finish, 'In fact, our case is very simple,' he said quietly. 'We believe in an intelligent God. We believe that He knew what He was doing when He created the black man. Just as He did when He created the white man...'
Biko and Woods stared at each other. The quiet, serious words affected Woods more than anything he had seen that whole eventful day.
One morning six weeks later Donald Woods arrived late at the offices of the Daily Dispatch. Tenjy and Mapetla followed him. Woods knew that they were nervous as they entered this centre of white power and influence. People stopped to stare at them as they walked quickly through the newsroom. One journalist spilt coffee all over her desk and did not notice until the little procession had entered Woods' office.
Ken Robertson was sitting on the edge of Woods' desk, reading, when Woods came in. He lifted his head to speak — but stopped with his mouth open.
Woods hung his jacket on the back of his chair. 'Ken, this is Tenjy Mtintso and Mapetla Mohapi,' he said. 'They are from King William's Town, and I'm glad to say that the Board has approved their appointment here.'
Ken stared at Woods. Then he stared at Tenjy and Mapetla. There was no doubt: they were black. Ken had heard that yesterday's meeting of the Board had been noisy, but he had not guessed this!
Woods picked up the phone. 'Ann, please come and meet two new reporters.' He turned to Ken. 'When they've had a look around the office, I want you to teach them how to use our cameras.'
Ken nodded, still unable to speak. Ann came in.
'Ann, this is Tenjy and Mapetla. Please show them around the office.'
'Of course,' Ann murmured. She looked at Woods for some further explanation, but Woods began looking at the letters on his desk and said nothing more. Ann turned and went out of the room with Tenjy and Mapetla. Ken did not leave.
'Excuse me, boss,' he began. 'Ah… where will they be working?'
Woods looked up and waved his hand towards the large open office area beyond the glass walls of his own office, in the newsroom.'
Ken nodded. 'The newsroom. Of course. Who would have thought of anything else? Tell me, does this Steve Biko practise black magic?'
Woods smiled. 'They're going to cover black news — weddings, music, sport, crime. There is nothing illegal in that, and we'll get a lot of new readers.'
'Oh, I'm sure the white readers will be delighted! And when they start writing about Black Consciousness -' he raised both hands — 'great news!'
In fact, it was Biko's idea that Woods should use a black journalist. Wendy — who had visited the clinic at Zanempilo and who had become friends with Mamphela, Ntsiki and Biko himself — thought that Woods should use a black woman. In the end, Woods convinced himself that they needed both a black woman and a black man. And finally the Board had agreed.
Not long afterwards, Woods invited Ken to meet him out in the country one Sunday afternoon. They parked their cars off the road and five minutes later a black taxi appeared with Mapetla in the back seat.
'Where are we going?' Ken demanded. 'Should I have let my family know I might not be back?'
'You're going to a black football match,' Mapetla answered. 'The only danger is that you will lose your idea that whites play the best football in this country.'
In fact there was a whole world of black sport in South Africa, though no national teams because of the pass laws which prevented blacks from moving freely about the country.
When they arrived at the football field there were lots of people there already. As they walked towards the small stadium, three tall, tough men stepped in front of them, ready to prevent them from going in.
'Excuse me,' one said. 'Can I help you?'
Mapetla stepped forward. 'It's all right. They're friends of Steve Biko.'
The man stared. 'Biko? He's in King William's Town,' he said coldly. 'He's got nothing to do with this game.'
'Listen, man,' Mapetla protested, 'don't worry. These whites, they...'
John Qumza suddenly appeared, running towards them. 'They are OK!' he called. 'Steve asked them to come. Hello, Mr Woods.' He appealed again to the three men. 'Come on, if they were the System, they wouldn't be waiting for your permission.'
One of the men reached out and took Ken's camera. 'They may be OK, but this certainly is not.'
'You're right,' John said quickly. 'Mapetla, please take the camera and put it in my car.' He gave Mapetla the keys and the tough men stood back to let the two white men pass into the stadium, though they still did not look very happy.
The two teams were already on the field, but the crowd was listening to a man with a microphone.
'Why does the white man stir up trouble between us?' the man asked the crowd. He was dressed in brown and gold, Mzimbi, a black leader who was wanted by the security police because he openly called for violent revolution. 'Because when we fight among ourselves, he can convince our friends overseas that it is right to tell us where to live, and how to live.'
John led Woods and Ken up the steps to some seats near the top of the stadium.
'He can go on paying us less for doing the same job as the white man. And he can go on passing his laws without listening to one word we say!' The crowd cheered angrily, some people standing up. 'We have got to keep together. Last year they killed more than four hundred black students! As one people we must let the white man know that his free ride on the back of black workers is over! If the only way we can get the message to him is to make sure he can never sleep in his big white bed in his big white house and know he is safe — then that is how it must be!'
The crowd shouted in support and Mzimbi raised his hands. Finally, Mzimbi made a sign that the crowd should be silent and people began to sit down. 'Now, we have got a surprise for you. He is a little shy — but you listen to what he has to say.' And then, waving, he turned and disappeared into the crowd, protected by a group of guards.
For a moment there was silence. Then another voice began to speak through another microphone. 'This is the biggest illegal meeting I have ever seen!'
The crowd burst into laughter. Woods recognized Biko's voice immediately, but he could not see him. He wondered anxiously how Biko would deal with the crowd since he did not agree with the call for violence.
'I heard what the last speaker said, and I agree — we are going to change South Africa! All we have to decide is the best way to do that. Believe me, the white man can be defeated!'
The crowd responded, and Woods stopped worrying. With humour and skill Biko had gained the approval of the crowd.
'We have the right to be angry,' Biko continued, 'but let us remember we are in this struggle not to kill someone but to kill the idea that one kind of man is better than another kind of man.'
'There!' Ken pointed to the right. Woods saw him — Biko at the back of the stadium with a microphone in his hand. John Qumza stood on his right, and Mapetla on his left, others surrounding them.
'Killing that idea does not depend on the white man. We must stop looking to the white man to give us anything. We have got to fill the black community with our own pride — not something the white man gives us, but something we make out of our own lives!'
The crowd was listening quietly now. Even the football players on the field were sitting on the ground, listening.
'We have got to teach our children black history,' Biko went on, 'tell them about our black heroes, our black society, so that they face the white man believing they are equal.'
And now the crowd did react, with loud, steady clapping.
'Then,' Biko declared forcefully, 'then we will stand up to him in any way he chooses. Confrontation if he likes, but an open hand, too — to say that we can both build a South Africa worth living in. A South Africa for equal men — black or white. A South Africa as beautiful as this land is, as beautiful as we are!'
There was a second of silence and then the crowd responded — cheering, clapping, whistling — all rising to their feet. Woods stood and clapped with everyone else. Ken stared at him in amazement. Finally, he too stood up slowly and began to clap, joining the rest of the crowd.
Supporters of black revolution in South Africa say that if three black people meet together, one of them will be an informer for the government. There is some truth in this. There are so many ways to bribe informers: a job, a work permit for a son or daughter. It was not surprising, therefore, when not long after the football match Biko's 'minders' were told to bring Biko in to the police station in King William's Town.
The informer's great fear is of discovery and revenge, so the police hide informers in order to protect them. When the police brought Biko into Captain De Wet's office they held him in a chair in front of a large box, the kind used for a fridge. There was a hole in the box, and through the hole Biko saw a pair of eyes and part of a black face.
'That's him,' a voice said from within the box. 'That's the man who made the speech.'
Captain De Wet stepped in front of Biko and smiled down at him as the informer moved out of the back of the box and went out of the door. The two detectives stood behind Biko's chair.
'You know I don't call for violence, De Wet,' Biko said, 'but don't make the mistake of treating me without respect.'
'Out of your banning area, talking to a crowd,' De Wet said slowly, the smile no longer on his face. 'You're going to be in big trouble soon. You'll be up there in court facing all kinds of charges.'
Biko was unafraid. 'On what evidence? What's his name?' he nodded towards the box. 'Captain De Wet, you aren't going to send me to court in Pretoria on the evidence of an informer in a box, are you?' De Wet did not answer and Biko smiled. 'Everyone knows that an informer will say anything.'
De Wet paused and then bent his head to look straight into Biko's eyes. 'You are a bit of poison, Biko,' he said slowly. 'And I'm going to see you in prison.'
Biko smiled again. 'Not with that kind of evidence. Hell, we don't want you looking like a fool.'
In a flash of anger De Wet lifted his hand to hit Biko in the face. But Biko moved sideways fast, and the hand missed him.
'Don't!' Biko said, controlling his own anger.
The two detectives held Biko's arms and pulled him back tight against the chair. Biko continued to stare at De Wet, challenging him with the anger in his eyes. De Wet glanced at the two detectives and then quickly hit Biko across the face, knocking his head to one side and bringing blood to his mouth. Biko pulled his head back, the blood running down his chin, but his eyes were still fixed on De Wet. De Wet, satisfied that Biko understood who was boss in this building, nodded to the two detectives to release Biko's arms.
Instantly, Biko jumped up and hit De Wet across the face with similar force. De Wet almost fell, banging into the box, blood pouring from his nose. The two detectives were on Biko immediately, pushing him back across the room, one of them pulling out a short, heavy stick.
'No! Wait! No, man, don't beat him!' De Wet shouted in Afrikaans. It stopped the detectives. De Wet moved slowly back across the room, wiping the blood from his face. 'Remember, he's going to be a witness at another trial. We don't want him to look as if something happened to him.'
Finally De Wet came face to face with Biko. He studied him with cold hatred. 'You're lucky, Biko — lucky.'
Biko was still held firmly by the two detectives, but he did not respond to the hatred in De Wet's voice. 'I just expect to be treated in the same way as you expect to be treated,' he declared.
'Treated like a white man? You and your big ideas,' De Wet replied.
Biko smiled. 'If you're afraid of ideas, you'd better give in now.'
'We shall never give in,' De Wet growled.
The two detectives were holding Biko tighter and tighter but he remained smiling and struggled to speak. 'Come on,' he said, 'don't be afraid. Once you try, you'll see that there's nothing to be afraid of. We're just as weak and human as you are.'
For a second De Wet did not understand, but then the idea hit him. His face went red with anger. 'We're going to catch you one day, then we'll see how human you are.'
De Wet wanted the depth of hatred in that threat to be clearly understood by Biko. He wanted Biko to live with that threat, to live with that promise of revenge every day and every night of his life. When he felt Biko understood, he nodded to the two detectives.
'Throw him out,' he said. And the two detectives pulled Biko from the chair, through the police station, and threw him out of the side door into the street.
It was a quite different Steve Biko who entered the witness box two weeks later in a court in Pretoria, the capital of South Africa, eight hundred kilometres north of King William's Town. He was dressed in a suit, a tie, a white shirt. As he put his hand out to swear on the Bible, he stood tall and proud, the physical equal of anyone in the court. His intelligence was going to be tested by the State Prosecutor and Judge Regter.
Two years earlier two students' organizations had arranged a large meeting in support of the new government in Mozambique. The South African Government banned the meeting and arrested a group of Black Consciousness leaders who were helping to organize it. For a long time they were kept in prison without being charged, but at last charges were brought against them and Biko — who was involved with both the students' organizations — was called as the main witness for the defence.
The State Prosecutor began. 'This student organization declares that «South Africa is a country in which both black and white shall live together». What does that mean?'
Biko did not hesitate. 'It means that we believe South Africa needs all parts of the community.'
The Prosecutor was a little surprised by Biko's quick response. 'I see. Are you familiar with the language of some of the documents which the defendants have discussed with black groups?'
'Yes, since I wrote some of the documents.'
'Ah, you did? The one which noted the terrorism of the government?'
This short answer surprised the Prosecutor even further. Wendy — who had come to Pretoria for the trial and was sitting in the white area of the court — glanced across at Ntsiki and Mamphela, sitting in the black area of the court, and they exchanged an anxious smile.
'You say «terrorism». Do you honestly believe that?' the Prosecutor asked.
'I do,' Biko answered. 'I am not talking about words, I am talking about violence — about police beating people, about police shooting people. I am talking about people starving in the townships. I am talking about desperate, hopeless people. I think all that amounts to more terrorism than the words the defendants have spoken. But they stand charged in this court and white society is not charged.'
The court was silent. Then the Prosecutor spoke again. 'So your answer to this is to encourage violence in the black community?'
'No. We want to avoid violence.'
The Prosecutor was convinced that Biko was now trapped. 'You write here that your true leaders are in prison in Robben Island, or forced to live overseas. Who are these true leaders?'
'I mean men like Nelson Mandela, Robert Sobukwe, Govan Mbeki.'
The Prosecutor looked at Biko with a smile. 'Is it not true that all these men call for black violence?'
'All these men are willing to struggle and fight against the situation of black people in this country,' Biko responded, and there was a murmur of agreement from the black area of the court. The Judge frowned in that direction.
'So you agree with these men?' the Prosecutor continued.
'I agree with their concern. Their sacrifices for black people have given them the natural support of all of us. Even if we do not agree with some of the things they did, they spoke the language of the people, and they will always have a place in our hearts.'
Again, there was a murmur of agreement from the black area of the court, and again Judge Regter turned and frowned.
'And you do not agree with their call for violence?' asked the Prosecutor.
'We believe that we can progress without violence.'
'But your own words call for direct confrontation!'
'That is right. We will not accept society as it exists in South Africa. We demand confrontation.'
The Prosecutor stared at Biko in amazement. Surely he was trapped now! 'In other words, you demand violence?'
'No,' Biko replied calmly. 'You and I are now in confrontation, but I see no violence.'
There was some laughter, but the Prosecutor was silent. Judge Regter leaned forward. 'But nowhere in these documents do you say that the white government is doing any good.'
Biko turned to Judge Regter. 'It does so little good that it is not worth writing about.'
This time the laughter was louder, and Judge Regter glanced round the court. 'But you still think that you can influence the government without violence?'
'Yes, sir.' Biko spoke with respect. It was obvious that Judge Regter was trying to conduct a fair trial. 'I believe that this government will listen to black opinion. Prime Minister Vorster can postpone some problems, but as black voices grow louder, he will be forced to listen; he is going to consider the feelings of black people.'
Judge Regter was still trying to understand. 'But if you accuse the government of terrorism, surely you encourage black violence?'
For the first time Biko hesitated. He wanted Judge Regter, and the whole court, and the journalists who were present, to understand what he was going to say. 'Black people are aware of the things they suffer. They don't need us to tell them what the government is doing to them.' There was some laughter, and Biko smiled. But his face quickly became serious again. 'We are telling them to stop accepting those problems, to confront them. Black society has lost hope in itself, it feels defeated. We believe that black people must not give in; they must find ways — even in this situation — to develop hope.
Hope for themselves, hope for this country. That is the whole point of Black Consciousness — to build within ourselves a sense of our own humanity, our proper place in the world...'
The whole court was silent, filled with Biko's own humanity. What had begun as an attack on Black Consciousness had become a platform for Biko's views, for the power and sincerity of his words. The next day, all South African, newspapers printed news of the trial. Woods printed Biko's words in full.
The next Board meeting was not easy for Woods. Biko was a banned person and it was against the law to print his words. The trial was different, Woods argued, since it was legal to print words used in court. Many newspapers had used Biko's words, so Woods was sure that the government would not attack one particular newspaper. In spite of this, the Board still felt that Woods was putting the newspaper in a dangerous position.
However, there was no doubt that black news and black readers were now accepted by everyone. Tenjy wrote an article on the community centre in King William's Town, which brought in a flood of gifts from both black and white people.
Biko phoned Woods to thank him. it's amazing what one positive article can do.'
'Be careful,' Woods joked. 'You'll be talking like a liberal soon!'
'Oh, no,' Biko laughed, it's going to take more than a few pots and pans and a second-hand fridge to do that!'
That night, Dilima, the elderly man who was the night guard at the old church in King William's Town, was disturbed by noises outside in the yard. He was sleeping in the sewing room, but he sat up and listened. Someone was trying to force open the front door. Boys, perhaps, who had heard about all the gifts.
Suddenly the front door crashed open and Dilima saw three big men, with hoods covering their heads and faces, and carrying iron bars. Another man, also wearing a hood, followed and gave an order in Afrikaans. Then they began to smash everything — windows, typewriters, chairs, children's toys.
Shaking with fear, Dilima quietly moved towards the side door. He slipped outside and closed the door softly behind him. He wanted to get to Biko's office to use the telephone, but as he moved towards it he saw three other men in that room, too. Dilima ran for the tree in the middle of the yard and quietly pulled himself up on the first branch. As he watched, he saw one of the men pull the telephone in Biko's room from the wall and smash it on the desk.
At last, two of the men came out, breathing heavily, and stopped under the tree. The third man joined them, and spoke in Afrikaans, ordering them to help the men in the church. Then he pulled the hood from his head. Dilima recognized him immediately. It was Captain De Wet from the security police.
The next day Biko asked Woods to come to the church with Wendy. It was a terrible sight. Everything of value had been smashed. Wendy began to help Ntsiki and Mamphela clear the wreckage.
'Who do you go to when the police attack you?' Ntsiki asked sadly, not expecting an answer.
But Wendy stopped and looked across at Woods. 'Donald, go to Kruger. He's the Minister of Police and he told you himself that he wants to fight police illegality. Well, go and tell him.'
Mamphela was picking up papers from the floor. She laughed at Wendy's suggestion. 'Kruger? He would probably give them a reward!'
Woods lit a cigarette. 'Come on, Mamphela. Ministers don't approve of this sort of thing.'
'Don't they?' Mamphela said bitterly. 'If you go to him, he will find a good reason.'
Father Kani, an elderly black priest who was one of Biko's most enthusiastic supporters, turned to Dilima. 'You are sure it was Captain De Wet?'
Dilima looked a little puzzled. Father Kani repeated the question in the Xhosa language. Now Dilima answered at once, nodding his head up and down. 'Ndimbonile,' he declared. 'I am positive.'
Crossly, Woods breathed out smoke from his cigarette. 'Where is Steve? What are his ideas about the situation?'
'He went to the clinic,' Mamphela replied. 'He wanted to take the security police away while you talked to Dilima.'
'Well, that's sensible,' Woods agreed. 'But I can't print a story from a witness who can't appear in court.'
'Any mention of Dilima's name in your newspaper,' Ntsiki warned, 'and he will never survive to appear in court.'
'I'd be surprised if he survived until the end of the week,' Mamphela added.
Wendy had heard enough. 'Donald, fly to Pretoria! The police here will just laugh at you, but you can't let this happen without doing something.'
Woods stared at her doubtfully.
'Do it! Go!' she said.
Woods did not take a suitcase or even a bag. He phoned Kruger's office and Kruger agreed to meet him at his home outside Pretoria on Saturday. It was early afternoon when the taxi stopped at the gates of Kruger's home and Woods got out. There were no guards at the gate and Woods walked slowly up to the house, looking at the surrounding hills and the beautiful large garden.
'Ah, Mr Woods, you are here.' Kruger was standing outside the front door, very relaxed, wearing an open shirt and holding a drink. Two little dogs jumped about at his feet. 'Come in, come in. I'm just having a drink. Will you join me?'
'The Minister of Police,' Woods said, amazed, 'and I walk right into your house with no one in sight.'
'Oh, perhaps not in sight — but if you weren't expected… .' Kruger raised his eyebrows. He led Woods into his study, a large, comfortable room.
'I want to thank you for seeing me at the weekend,' Woods said.
'Ag, it's nothing, man. I always like to help you editors if I can.' Kruger gave Woods a glass of whisky. 'What is it you wanted to see me about?'
'It's about Steve Biko,' Woods began, sitting down.
'Biko!' Kruger exclaimed. 'I know all about Steve Biko!'
'Why is he banned?' Woods asked. 'He believes in non-violence, and he is a black leader you can talk to. You need a leader like that.'
'Look, Mr Woods, I promise you, we have reason to ban Steve Biko.'
'If you have, then why not take him to court?'
Kruger leaned forward in his chair. 'Listen. You know we have special problems in this country and we have to do things we don't like. Do you think I like banning people and keeping people in prison without trial? Man, I am a lawyer. I don't like these things.' Suddenly he stood up. 'Come, come. I want to show you something, Mr Woods.'
He led Woods out through another door into a hall. One wall of the hall was covered with photographs, a history of Kruger's family.
'We Afrikaners came here in 1652, two hundred years before there was a camera.' He pointed to the earliest photograph, taken in the 1860s or 1870s, showing a group of men working on a farm. 'Look at the concentration camps the British put our women and children in during the Boer War.' The photographs showed starving women and children — nothing but skin and bone. 'The British never defeated us, you know, but we couldn't go on fighting when our families were dying in those concentration camps.'
There were other photographs — a farm in the 1920s, a car in the 1930s, a young man in a football shirt holding a ball, obviously Kruger himself. Kruger waited as Woods glanced at the last photographs.
'Let me tell you, Mr Woods, any Afrikaner family could show you the same thing. We built this country. Do you think we are going to give all this away? That is what Mr Biko wants. This is a black country, he says. But what is here was made by Afrikaner work and struggle and blood.
The blacks came to us for work — remember that. We didn't force them to work.'
Woods knew the Afrikaner argument. 'No, you didn't force them to work, but since you had taken over most of the land they didn't have much choice. And wouldn't you say that their work has helped your success?'
Kruger did not answer. Instead he opened the main doors and the two men looked out at the wonderful view — the hills and a large lake that filled one of the valleys in the distance. Kruger went over to some chairs on the grass, the two little dogs following him.
'Let's sit out here in the shade,' he said. 'We know we must find a way to work together and live together. We are trying to find a way. Maybe it's a little too slow for some of them, but Mr Biko is giving them false hope. We are not just going to roll over and give all this away.'
Woods looked at the beauty of the garden and the view, and remembered the black township he had visited. The difference between the two made the threat of revolution more real than ever.
'Listen,' Kruger said quietly, leaning forward. 'Trust me. I know more about Mr Biko than you do, Mr Woods. But I shall consider your recommendation, if you really think it's worth it.'
'Thank you, Minister. I do think it's worth it. But I have really come about a community centre in King William's Town which was smashed up the other night...'
'I know about that. My police are investigating it.'
'Your police are the ones who did it!'
For a second Kruger froze. Then he slowly put his drink down and turned to Woods. 'What makes you say that?'
'A witness saw a police captain and some of his men smash the place.'
'And will the witness make a statement?' Kruger asked coldly.
'He's afraid to,' Woods answered, 'and I felt it would be better if you dealt with it yourself.'
Suddenly Kruger returned to his friendly attitude. 'Ag, you are right!' he declared. 'I appreciate your helpful attitude. I shall pursue this matter. I don't want this sort of thing happening.'
Woods was surprised. The warmth and sincerity of Kruger's response impressed him. 'Well, I… that's it,' he said, feeling it was all too easy after his long trip from East London. He finished his drink and stood up. 'Thank you.'
'Ag, thank you, for the way you have dealt with this unpleasant business,' Kruger responded.
As they walked towards the house, Kruger's son, aged about fifteen, came towards them. 'Will you be able to play tennis?' he asked his father.
'Ag, of course,' Kruger replied. 'Johan, this is the editor of the Daily Dispatch, Mr Donald Woods.'
'I'm pleased to meet you,' the boy said politely.
'Did you come by car, Donald?' Kruger asked.
Woods was surprised by the sudden use of his first name. 'No, sir, by taxi.'
'I'll drive you back to the city.'
'No, no,' Woods protested. 'You have your game of tennis. If you can just call a taxi for me...'
'It's no trouble, man. We have all afternoon for tennis. Besides, the dogs want a ride.' He took his keys out of his pocket and the dogs immediately started jumping up at his legs. Woods was amused. It was a nice picture: the relaxed father, the polite son, the spoiled dogs.
'This is very kind of you,' Woods said, as they walked around the house to where the cars were parked.
'Ag, Mr Woods, we are not really the terrible characters people think we are.'
And at that moment Woods believed that was probably true.
On Sunday afternoon Wendy was in the kitchen and Woods was reading in the living room, when someone banged on the front door. Charlie the dog growled and ran to the door.
'All right, Evalina,' Wendy called. 'I'll get it. Charlie! Get back here!'
There were two men outside the front door. 'Yes?' she said. 'Can I help you?'
'Mr Donald Woods? Is he available?'
At that moment Woods appeared, carrying his newspaper, his glasses down his nose. He was a little annoyed at being disturbed. 'I'm Donald Woods.'
'You complained to the Minister of Police?' one of the m