Holding the Fort

Toni Strasburg

Kwela, May 2019

224 pages


Activists Rusty and Hilda Bernstein were arrested following the 1960 State of Emergency and held without trial. Toni, at sixteen was left to look after her younger siblings. Hilda kept a diary of her time in detention of letters, drawings, poems, plays and menus she made to keep the others entertained. Years later, Toni pieces together her mother’s diary, her father’s writing and her own recollection, trying to make sense of this time. Holding the Fort is the heart-breaking story of a family.

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