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The Assassin: A Story of Race and Rage in the Land of Apartheid
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The Assassin: A Story of Race and Rage in the Land of Apartheid

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  44 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
On September 6, 1966, Dimitri Tsafendas entered South Africa's parliament, gripping a wickedly long knife, and stabbed Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd four times in the chest. This chilling study of the life of Tsafendas—the homeless, stateless, and loveless illegitimate son of a Greek father and a black African mother—gives us acrystalline vision of the tragic consequence ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published July 5th 2002 by Picador (first published 1998)
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AC Fick
Jul 13, 2013 AC Fick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This small book, in which Van Woerden goes in search of the gaps in the stories of Dmitri Tsafendas, reveals much that those of us interested in and affected by twentieth century South Africa's trajectory from colonial outpost to independent state would find surprising and revealing, both of the past and of the present.

Always resisting polemic and sentimentality, this book unveils the continuities between the mis-remembered past rewritten for political convenience, and the dis-ease of the prese
...more
Adrian
Short book about the life of Demitrios Tsafendis the man who assassinated South African president Hendrik Verwoerd in 1966. The assailant was a half caste with roots in Mozambique who lived a strange life of family displacement, odd jobs and rootless wandering. Arrested in several countries he also spent time in mental hospitals in Germany and the US. He spent thirty years in a South African ward after the murder where the author met and talked with him in 1998. Strangely discomfitting and affec ...more
Gavin
Dec 28, 2008 Gavin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
An interesting account of the events that led Demitrios Tsafendas to murder Hendrik Verwoerd, the father of Apartheid. It's extremely well told and shows a South Africa, and indeed other areas of southern Africa, that has not changed as much as some would think.

The translation from the Dutch was done by Dan Jacobson, who is a great writer in his own right.
Sarah
Jul 28, 2011 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A brilliant read, very interesting and quite heart rending, I didn't think I would feel sorry for Demitrios. At the end I found myself crying for a man who had lst his sanity. Loved it!
Judith
Feb 07, 2013 Judith rated it it was amazing
Learned a bit of history I never even knew about through a compelling story as written by Van Woerden. This is how history should be written.
Ruth
Jul 02, 2012 Ruth rated it really liked it
Facinating and tragic look into the life of Dimitri Tsafendas who murdered Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd chief architect of aparthied.
Emiliano Bussolo
Brutale come la vita, vasto come la mente umana, irrinunciabile come un gran gran libro.
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Adam
Apr 03, 2012 Adam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: south-africa
A haunting, evocative account of Demitrios Tsafendas, who stabbed the Apartheid President Verwoerd.
Koen Lodefier
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Sep 09, 2014
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