The Native Commissioner: a Novel

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9780143025016: The Native Commissioner: a Novel

As a Native Commissioner through the 1940's to 1960's, George Jameson was responsible for the welfare of the natives' in his appointed region. He prided himself on furthering relations between communities, speaking several tribal languages fluently and developing a reputation as a man to be trusted and sought after for help and advice. With a thriving young family, a devoted wife and a quick succession of promotions, George is proud of everything he has achieved so far, in particular the understanding he is fostering between whites and blacks. Then, in the wake of the 1948 elections, George feels a shift in the Native Affairs Department's agenda. As he is shunted from one outpost to another, his role becoming ever more hopeless, his place in South Africa's future increasingly hazy, he feels the weight of his powerlessness and finds himself fighting off a crippling depression. "The Native Commissioner" is a heart-wrenching portrayal of a kind and conscientious man who felt himself cast adrift under the weight of South African apartheid.

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Review:

'A welcome step toward the reconstitution of the South African past in all its moral and political complexity' -- J.M. Coetzee

'Our past is fascinatingly unpacked . . . Penetrating fiction like this doesn't give answers, it invites questions' -- Nadime Gordimer

About the Author:

Shaun Johnson worked as a journalist for many years, launching South Africa's Sunday Independent and becoming MD of Independent Newspapers in South Africa, before accepting the role of CEO for the Mandela Rhodes Foundation. The Native Commissioner is his first novel. He lives in Cape Town.

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