A Path through Hard Grass. A Journalist’s Memories of Exile and Apartheid

  • With an introduction by Nadine Gordimer
  • Language: English
  • 2014
  • 276 pages
  • Illustrations
  • Vol. 11
  • ISBN 978-3-905758-39-9
  • ISSN: 1660-9638
  • eISBN 978-3-905758-54-2
  • eISSN 2297-461X
Ruth Weiss

A Path through Hard Grass. A Journalist’s Memories of Exile and Apartheid

A child of a Jewish family fleeing Nazi-Germany and settling in apartheid South Africa in the 1930s, Ruth Weiss’ journalistic career starts in Johannesburg of the 1950s. In 1968 banned from her home country, and then also from Rhodesia for her critical investigative journalism, she starts reporting from Lusaka, London and Cologne on virtually all issues which affect the newly independent African countries. Peasants and national leaders in southern Africa – Ruth Weiss met them all, travelling through Africa at a time when it was neither usual for a woman to do so, nor to report for economic media as she did. Her writing gained her the friendship of diverse and interesting people. In this book she offers us glimpses into some of her many long-nurtured friendships, with Kenneth Kaunda or Nadine Gordimer and many others. Her life-long quest for tolerance and understanding of different cultures shines through the many personalized stories which her astute eye and pen reveals in this book. As she put it, one never sheds the cultural vest donned at birth, but this should never stop one learning about and accepting other cultures.

Foreword by Nadine Gordimer

I From Fürth To Johannesburg

II An unjust Society

III New Customs

IV Teenage Years

V Johannesburg, Jewburg, and E’Goli

VI Troubled Years

VII Experience with Boers

VIII The Fifties

IX A New Beginning

X Career Moves

XI The Sixties

XII Flight and Travel

XIII New Friendship and Love

XIV Fleet Street, Salisbury, London

XV Zambia – Life in a Frontline State

XVI Voice of Germany

XVII London and Lancaster House

XVIII An Unusual Journey

IXX Zimbabwe

XX South Africa

XXI Later Years


“I have to say that Ruth Weiss is a most unexpected personality, and hers is an unexpected book. … I know – knowing her so well, so long – that she has not been prompted by vanity; nothing could be further from her nature. I believe that, considering her life, she came to see, as anyone reading this book will, that fate, chance, and accident of birth and the drama of history – call it what you will –have woven her life into a pattern belonging specifically to our century, a piece of social history that should not be kept to herself, but set down for us, her contemporaries. … The time for summing-up is here in the tenth decade.”
Nadine Gordimer

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