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By Mary Benson

The autobiography of Mary Benson, a white South African author recognized for her paintings opposed to apartheid, whose existence illustrates a public and private drama. She describes her early years spent in Hollywood and her existence as a committed employee againest apartheid.

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Extra info for A Far Cry: The Making of a South African

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I was showered with attention by top brass, they were sweet and avuncular. It all went to my head. Even Ranee lost patience at miy capriciousness, Gavin suggested meeting for Christmas in the Lebanon. I agreed. It seemed a wonderful idea. But as the moment approached, enthusiasm waned. Without the rapture of his presence, my own passion grew uncertain and guilt and tear of pregnancy were reawakened. At the last moment I telephoned him in Baghdad with a lame excuse. He did not write again. I threw myself into superficial flirtations and ly erratic behaviour culminated in a crisis when I overstayed a weekend's leave.

Letters home recounted my activities and I ani amazed, looking back, at the temerity with which I tackled problems: on a Monday in Lippstadt settling a dispute between a voluble, gesticulating couple - Mr Pan, a Pole, and Lieutenant Kraw czyk, a Czech; on a Tuesday inspecting Polish Red Cross billets needing stoves; on a Wednesday attending an international YMCA/YWCA conference at M6ihne See at which I was guest of honour, sitting enveloped in blankets to keep out the cold; on a Thursday arranging medical treatment for tubercular Polish prisoners.

Mine was a compromise between desire and desire. ' I was still hopelessly ignorant about Africans and wondered how I could meet them; at a party in South Africa House I'd seen a solitary black man, but been too shy to approach him. 'You're right,' Alan commented. ' lie suggested that there must be clubs where one could meet naturally, but the idea didn't appeal to me. Early in 1949 --autumn for him, spring fbr me - we were both in the dumps. Should I leave my job with Lean? And if so, to do what?

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