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Fabulous reads: Apartheid activist pens book on the Gugulethu Seven

Book overview - Hunting the Seven by Dr Beverley Roos-Muller

Hunting the Seven, Beverley Roos-Muller, Jonathan Ball Publishers, ISBN: 9781776193509

“ARMED with beautiful writing skills, great respect for sources, a generous heart and a profound sense of justice, the author hunts for and shares with the reader the unutterably banal and brutal answer to the story of the assassinations.” – Judge Ablie Sachs

Never have seven people been so hunted. By assassins. By journalists, lawyers and activists in search of the truth and TRC investigators wanting justice for the victims’ families.

In 1986, seven young men were shot and killed by police in Gugulethu in Cape Town. The nation was told they were a ‘terrorist’ MK cell, which was plotting an attack on a police unit.

An inquest followed, then a dramatic trial in 1987 and another inquest in 1989. Finally, the fact that Eugene de Kock’s Vlakplaas unit plotted and drove the operation was revealed at the Truth and Reconciliation ten years after the murders, but Vlakplaas’s real agenda remained shrouded in mystery.

In Hunting the Seven, Beverley Roos-Muller tells the story of the Gugulethu Seven and the hunt for the truth of their deaths. It took a decade and two dogged journalists, their canny lawyers, anti-apartheid activists and TRC investigators to get to the bottom of the extrajudicial killings. Sifting through the evidence and through original interviews with those involved, Roos-Muller reveals that it was Vlakplaas’s only operation in the Western Cape and was an elaborate, deadly scheme designed to keep the money rolling into the death squad’s slush fund.

About the author:

Dr Beverley Roos-Muller. Photo: Submitted

Dr Beverley Roos-Muller is a former academic lecturing in humanities at the University of Cape Town.

In her early years, she was a journalist for the Cape Argus, and she remains a broadcaster and writer on social, political and literary matters.

She was an anti-apartheid activist in the 1980s, including as spokesperson for the multi-organisational Open City campaign opposing the Group Areas Act, and was a delegate to Lusaka with the Five Freedoms Forum in 1989 during pre-negotiation discussions.

Her book on the Boer experience of the war, Bullet in the Heart: Four Brothers Ride to War 1899–1902 was published by Jonathan Ball in 2023.

She is the co-author and editor, with her late husband, Prof Ampie Muller, of Vuur in Sy Vingers, about his father-in-law, the poet NP Van Wyk Louw (published in 2020). She lives in Cape Town.

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