If I could give this book 10 stars I would.

I quote these words by the author, Mark Fine: “After living in the United States since 1979, I’ve felt apartheid has not been well understood here, more of a bumper sticker slogan view of things. In reflection I realized why, being previously a British colony South Africa was never part of America’s sphere of influence. ….”

The words “more of a bumper sticker slogan” stuck with me as I read this stunning book, because they are so true. We support causes by putting a sticker on our bumpers, but few of those who proudly display the slogan, really understand the everyday realities, the painful struggles, the cruelty of any restriction of freedom, unless they themselves experience what is happening and know it from a personal point of view. Here in North America we can only imagine what Apartheid was like—and I’m afraid we do that without much reality.

I quote here, another passage from the inside flap of the book: “In the spring of 1976 matters of the heart are strictly controlled by racist doctrines. In that toxic mix of segregation and tribal mistrust, an unlikely union between a black man from Malawi and a white woman–an Afrikaner–shocks the nation unaccustomed to such a public affair. All sides across the color divide are represented in the interracial couple’s painful journey in an unaccepting world. The lovers find themselves in the crosshairs of the racist regime’s cold-blooded enforcer, Mal Zander, who will stop at nothing to crush their union and future hopes for a colorblind nation.

The intimate and emotional love story of Elsa and Stanwell is exposed for all to see under the harsh glare of television, newly introduced. In a narrative that’s intense–vividly authentic, and thought provoking–the reader will witness Elsa and Stanwell’s desperate fight to remain together–as the apartheid nation waged a deadly struggle for liberation…and eventual redemption in the guise of prisoner #46664, Nelson Mandela.”

 Mark Fine shines a revealing light on those horrific years of Apartheid in South Africa. For me, his clever way of intertwining the lives of his characters, the interracial lovers Elsa and Stanwell, with historical facts inserted as commentary about what was happening at the time had more impact than any television program or news report could ever have. I’m not even certain that a movie could be as moving.

I can’t find the words to express how deeply reading this book affected me.  I believe it should be read in schools and educational institutions around the world…Lest We Forget.

I noticed that a reviewer said “I see Pulitzer Prize material here….” 

I have to agree. This is naked history presented in a fictional way—it is dramatic and emotional, there is no attempt to preach the authors theories.  The characters, their actions and their feelings portray the tragedy that occurred under an unyielding racist police state. This is an engaging text book on Apartheid in South Africa.  I encourage everyone to read it.

The Zebra Affaire can be purchased here on