Seventeen years old and faced with the most difficult situation of her young life. The only problem was that she had no idea what was actually wrong with her. Leukaemia? What is that? It’s cancer. ‘Am I going to die’, she asked.
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BEING BLACK AND BI-POLAR IN SOUTH AFRICA
‘My struggles with mental illness were in some ways like a child crying out for attention; more than that they were a cry for help from the mind I felt trapped in. There was a darkness in me that many times swallowed me whole.’
This is how Keamogetswe Bopalamo introduces her account of her troubled early life. It is an intensely personal account, and yet it speaks to a reality much broader than itself. In the exciting whirl of South Africa’s post-apartheid society, there is this darker side: the confusions, the fears, the rebellions, the degradations and emotional pain.
Growing up in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa in the 1950’s and 1960’s the emphasis on the way of life was completely different to the present day some nearly 70 years later.
He writes of his reminiscences of his school days and especially his involvement in sport which was compulsory. Many of life’s lessons were learnt young on the rugby or cricket fields.