This is a book that I really don’t know where to start with. Although by his own admission the first draft was slammed together in only six weeks, it is exceedingly well written. Either Gerrie Hugo is a master of the art, or else he employed a superb editor. Africa Will Always Break Your Heart is not just a biography, it is a history lesson about South Africa during the rather grim age of apartheid and its hateful and vengeful effect on the indigenous population.
Gerrie Hugo mostly manages to create a very funny read in the first half of the book. I am sure that anyone mentioned has Gerrie crossed off their Christmas card list. His childhood was not particularly good, life was often difficult, an army father with double standards, and a mother whose infidelities were obvious to even the most casual observer created a less than ideal environment. In his teenage years we discover there is no doubt about his sexual orientation, as a hormone-ravaged young man he was a true terror to the fairer sex, and amusing the stories are.
The second half of the book takes on a much darker shade. As a member of the armed forces we watch Gerrie get pulled gently but insistently into the always murky world on ‘intelligence’, agendas abounded, the obvious quest of the White minority being to sustain the status quo against increasing world pressure to force democracy. And an increasing groundswell from both the Colored and Black majorities to recognize their presence (and yes there is a difference, one was indigenous while the other was an interloper, this is a fact that few of us in the west understood).
Being asked and commanded to do increasingly more inane and obviously illegal tasks Gerrie becomes rebellious, but asking questions does not get him any answers, just more and more grief.