This is the story of an attempted coup d'etat more than twenty years ago on the Seychelles, an idyllic but obscure group of islands in the Indian Ocean. At the time, the attempt made headlines across the world, partly because it involved names still famous or notorious from the mercenary involvement in the Congo in the 1960's, partly because it involved the hijacking of an Air India jetliner, partly because South Africa, the international pariah, was involved, and partly because the incident was perceived as another small skirmish in the Cold War. However, this is more than a behind-the-scenes account of those faded headlines. It is the story of one individual's personal growth.
The author writes, "I was wounded and captured in the Seychelles. I was severely beaten on a daily basis, stood trial and then was sentenced to death. I eventually served two and a half years in prison, a time, which I value with hindsight because I now realize it was then that I discovered hidden depths in my comrades and myself. I discovered humanity in my jailers and in the president of the Seychelles, whom my group had set out to depose. Cut off from my wife and family, I treasured their support from a distance and today do not for an instant take for granted the strength and joy of a loving family. And I deepened my religious faith, which today lights my path. It seems an odd thing to say, but I owe a lot to that escapade in the Seychelles. I realized how shallow and crass the racial attitudes are that exist in this world we live in. Human courage and kindness, I discovered, knows of no racial barriers. I experienced the unbelievable magnanimity and greatness of spirit of President Albert René, the man to whom I owe my life. I also experienced support from a distance from Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a person I had been conditioned to expect nothing from except hostility. It was an illuminating and humbling experience. I also experienced the fickleness of the apartheid regime. I suppose, it would have been expecting a bit much for them to admit they backed the Seychelles attempt and supplied the weaponry, but as far as I am aware, they subsequently did not stir a finger, officially or unofficially, to ameliorate our condition or secure our release. What they did do was put sinister and unpleasant pressure on my wife, alone in Durban with two young children, for reasons I am still at a loss to understand."
Paperback, 200 pages
Published July 2014
This book is imported on demand and dispatched within 15 working days depending on supplier