We are pleased to invite you to join us for two online events over the next two weeks to launch the book
‘When They Came For Me – The Hidden Diary Of An Apartheid Prisoner’
by John Schlapobersky, David’s brother.
The book launch took place on Sunday 13 June 2021 in London, exactly 52 years since John’s arrest in Johannesburg.
Here is a link to the video of the launch, please click on the small image of the book cover below:
The first event will be a
In which John will be in discussion with Judge Dennis Davis
Date: Wednesday 9 June
Time: 12:00 SAST
Click on the sunflower
You will receive confirmation by e-mail after completing the form.
The second event will be the Virtual Book Launch and celebration on Zoom, filmed and streamed live from London.
They Came For Me
The Hidden Diary of
an Apartheid Prisoner
John R. Schlapobersky
The author, John Schlapobersky, and publishers
Jonathan Ball Publishers and Berghahn Books
Invite you to join us ONLINE for a
Virtual Book Launch and Celebration
Filmed and streamed live from Phoenix Theatre, King Alfred School, London
Sunday 13th June 2021
2.30 – 4.00 pm B.S.T.
Hannah Sherbersky and Marian Prinsley
Justice Albie Sachs
Formerly Justice, South Africa’s Constitutional Court
Author, playwright, formerly President, British PEN in discussion with
Marion Berghahn and Jeremy Boraine – publishers
Click on the sunflower
You will receive a registration form for completion, giving you access to the
John Schlapobersky, a student in South Africa, was arrested in 1969 for opposing apartheid, tortured through sleep deprivation and eventually deported. In solitary confinement he wrote secretly about the struggle for survival. This exquisitely written memoir is based on two hidden diaries – one in his Bible and the other on toilet paper. He reflects on the singing of the condemned prisoners and the poetry, songs and texts that saw him through his ordeal. The sense of hope through which he transformed his life guides his continuing work as a psychotherapist in the rehabilitation of others. Apartheid and its resistance come to life in this vital historical document, of its time and for our own.
John is a leading psychotherapist and author based in London. In 1985 he was a Founding Trustee of Freedom From Torture, a human rights charity.
His publications include From The Couch To The Circle: Group-Analytic Psychotherapy In Practice (Routledge 2016), winner of the American Group Psychotherapy Association’s Alonso Award in 2017, now in translation to other language editions.
‘An exquisitely written memoir about human endurance, survival, repair and transcendence.’
Justice Albie Sachs
‘An intriguing story of endurance and survival. A reminder of times, and the people who resisted them, that should never be forgotten.’
‘One of the most vivid, intimate and sustained accounts yet, of the brutality that apartheid’s torturers unleashed – a remarkable book about our inhumanity and the resilience of the human spirit.’
Jonathan Jansen, Professor, University of Stellenbosch
‘The tale of an ordinary young man swept one day from his life into hell, testimony to the wickedness a political system let loose in its agents and, above all, an intimate account of how a man became a healer.’
Jonny Steinberg, Professor, African Studies Centre, University of Oxford
‘John has made surviving into…an act of creative protest (and) a means to bear witness for the many who did not survive.’
Jack Saul, Director, International Trauma Studies Program, New York.
To order the book online outside South Africa, visit the publisher’s website:
using code JSBOOK for a 35% launch discount.
To order the book online inside Southern Africa,
(including South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, Zambia, Mozambique) visit the publisher’s website:
Jonathan Ball Publishers
John – 1968 John – May 2021
“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out
Because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me”
German Lutheran Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)
We sincerely hope that some of you will be able to join in either one of these events, or perhaps both.
There is a third event being considered, to take pace in Swellendam.
Details will follow soon with our winter newsletter.
Our studio, gallery and garden in Swellendam are open and working daily, and visitors are always welcome.
Please call ahead if travelling from afar, just to be sure that we’re here and available on the day.
Wishing you all the best in good health and safety.
David and Felicity
Pottery Studio, Gallery & Guest Cottage
May – 2021
WhatsApp: +27 (0) 82 342 5453