Research Interests

I hope my recent book, In the Dark With My Dress on Fire: My Life in Cape Town, London, Havana and Home Again, will make an important contribution to recent South African history. I helped Blanche La Guma write her life story, the tale of an amazing 79-year-old woman who grew up in a working class “coloured” (mixed race) family in Cape Town, South Africa, and became an underground Communist Party activist fighting the racist system of apartheid. She married Alex La Guma, a famous novelist, and raised two sons while working full-time as a midwife and continuing her clandestine activity as a member of a small underground cell. Because of their political activities the family was forced into exile, first in London and then Havana, Cuba, where Alex served as the African Nationalist Party (ANC) representative for Cuba and the Caribbean before his death in 1985. Blanche, a terrific storyteller with many stories to tell, is a person of great warmth, integrity, and humor.