Magirus - The Story of a Second Class Citizen by Clive Hay

ZAR208.70

This autobiographical account is a book about a young man’s journey from teen-hood to adulthood over a period of 2 years in the SANDF during the mid-70. The journey briefly traces the author’s initiation into the armed forces, the heartbreak of having the tenure in the army increased from one to two years, the hopes of a transfer closer to home and to the entertainment corps, cruelly dashed in a 24 hour change of mind, the hopelessness of a bleak National Service in a dead-end  situation, and the sudden change of fortune for the better.

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This autobiographical account is a book about a young man’s journey from teen-hood to adulthood over a period of 2 years in the SANDF during the mid-70. The journey briefly traces the author’s initiation into the armed forces, the heartbreak of having the tenure in the army increased from one to two years, the hopes of a transfer closer to home and to the entertainment corps, cruelly dashed in a 24 hour change of mind, the hopelessness of a bleak National Service in a dead-end  situation, and the sudden change of fortune for the better.

The setting is Kimberley in the Northern Cape and further describes the formation of an entertainment unit in the author’s army division there, and the various ways the author and his friends went about beating the system and using it to their advantage. It covers the author’s early musical triumphs, friendships, escapades, loves and losses, and eventual maturing and discovery of his Raison d’Etre.

Motivation:

The author says: ‘I think one of the principle differences between “Magirus” and other books written about the SANDF is that “Magirus’ was written in a peacetime scenario, with the threat of war hanging over young National Servicemen’s heads – I had friends fighting in the Angolan war only 18 months prior to my enlistment. In fact, satire in war or army stories seems to be in short supply in the literary world, particularly in stories about the SANDF (South African National Defence Force). Stories regarding the SANDF and South Africa generally revolve around the evils of Apartheid, and/or how the particular author stood up to the Apartheid machine and the South African government at the time.

All fascinating, but done to death. In my book, South Africa just happens to be the country (which in itself is pivotal to the landscape of the story), but the story itself is a unique encounter of what happened to young men in the army at a particular point in time – how we had an extra year of military service thrust upon us, and the SANDF’s response and our personal response to that inconvenience.

Apartheid South Africa is still a source of fascination for many around the world, but I wanted to make this book as Apolitical as possible. White South Africans led very similar lives (rightly or wrongly) to most in Western countries in the 1970’s, but this was tinged with the uneasiness afforded us by the Nationalist government at the time. The price white South African males had to pay for the unfairness and intermittent brutality of the system was by doing National Service. None of us really wanted this. It was a waste of our time, interfered with our studies and served no purpose except to show us all who was in charge. Most citizens were made to feel that they had to toe the line from the outskirts of the government’s buddy system – hence the book’s title ‘Magirus: the story of a Second-Class citizen’.

MORE about the author and his book:

Around 2013, Clive was hit by a wave of nostalgia and decided to put pen to paper. The subject was his recently released biography “Magirus: The Story of A Second-Class Citizen” about his time as a musician in the South African Defence Force.

The book was completed in 2016 and after extensive reviews and a partial rewrite, the book made its way into print. A first-time author, Clive describes the book as a project of love – easy in the extreme to write, but bittersweet and laborious in the review process. He has started his next bio-novel with the working title “Savannah – The Story of a Second- Class Band” about his start in the world of professional music in South Africa. He is also planning a third novel with the working title

“Church Musician - The Story of A Second-Class Christian”.

Clive Hay
978-0-646963-67-9
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