Under the African Sun is, in my opinion, not a conventional love story. It is a “life” story that vividly transports one to the desperate struggle against prejudice in South Africa in the 1970’s. When I took up the book to read it, I could not put it down. I read it from cover to cover in one sitting, caught up in a whirlwind of action and raw emotion.
I believe that the book is a ‘must read’ for all South Africans, young and old. It is a reminder to all of us that South Africans of all races were part of the struggle against apartheid and the consequences thereof. As the author mentions, the book is fictional, but based on real-life events. The unfolding of the events in the book draws the reader into an emotional, real-life journey, intensely portraying how the main character’s life is enriched by her love for the activist, yet severely traumatised by her association with him due to political oppression.
Jimmy James, to whom author Gail Gilbride has dedicated her book, spent more than thirty years in a wheel chair after his accident in 1978 – a gentle spirit whose participation in the struggle against the Apartheid regime was based on his sense of justice and righteousness towards all races and cultures. Although confined to a wheelchair, Jimmy never lost the twinkle in his eye and did not harbour any regret or bitterness for his own suffering as a result of his participation in the struggle.
The James family is honoured that Gail has dedicated her book to Jimmy. I believe that those who read it will come away from the pages with a much deeper understanding of our South African struggle and the fact that people of different racial backgrounds were prepared to put their lives on the line for a cause that transcends racial barriers. The book does not only give insight into part of the history of South Africa, but it is a global message that should touch the hearts of people across the world. It is proof that unity of heart and vision does not have to depend on ethnicity, which is, after all, the prayer of the Lord Jesus Christ just before He gave His life for mankind, (“Father make them one…” John 17:21).
A highly recommended read!!!!