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Book title: Pale Native
Author: Max du Preez
Cape Town, South Africa 2004
Softcover, 15x23 cm, 304 pages, some bw-photos
Max du Preez has one hell of a story to tell. In his career as a renegade reporter, he’s survived three dismissals, seven libel suits, thirteen criminal cases, four aeroplane crashes, a bombing, two assassination attempts and was a regular on right-wing hit lists. He was in Soweto on 16 June 1976, witnessed the debauched parties of apartheid cabinet ministers, and stepped over dead bodies in a bombed Angolan village.
He looked into apartheid killer Dirk Coetzee’s eyes and published his story of police death squads, and when he visited Vlakplaas himself, he was lucky to get out alive. Max is best known as founder and editor of the Afrikaans newspaper Vrye Weekblad, and for his weekly television report on the Truth Commission and the programme Special Assignment.
Pale Native takes you on a remarkable journey, from the contradictions of history to the triumphs and troubles of the present, from the halls of parliament to the desert of Namibia, from burning townships to the headquarters of covert operations. You’ll meet generals and guerrillas, presidents and hit men. And it’s all reported with the straight-shooting, uncompromising, outspoken frankness that has won him admiration and got him into trouble with the new government as well as the old.
Pale Native is a story filled with drama, about the risks of investigative journalism in the front line. It’s controversial, because Max, as always, is not afraid to expose what others want hidden from view. It’s insightful, giving a fascinating analysis of southern African politics from a skilled reporter who has seen it first hand. And, above all, it’s highly entertaining.