As a clinical psychologist for South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Committee, Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela interviews former pro-apartheid officials - people who, under apartheid, were committed to annihilating her race. In the course of her duties she interviews Eugene De Kock, the ex-commander of a unit that is believed to have murdered anti-apartheid activists in cold blood, a man sold on the 'cause' of white supremacy, a man whose crimes against humanity resulted in a 212-year prison sentence. Pumla is charged with a difficult task: she, a black woman, must work with De Kock as his psychologist, encouraging him to explore the darkest parts of his psyche. Yet, harder still, she must seek and accept his remorse - and in her acceptance, offer him forgiveness. Savage, harrowing but ultimately redemptive, A Human Being Died That Night is a singular plea for the possibility of compassion and a brilliant exploration of post-apartheid South Africa.
Other Portobello Books published this month