Aug 12, 2012

Author Heidi Holland found dead

Heidi Holland (Photo: Alex Gallafent)
Heidi Holland (6 October 1947 – 11 August 2012) was a South Africa–based Zimbabwean journalist and author who had been involved in the journalism industry for over 30 years. She worked as a freelance writer on publications such as The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, International Herald Tribune, The New York Times and The Guardian and had also worked on research projects for British television documentaries.

She died Saturday at her home in South Africa, police said. She was 64.

Lt. Col. Katlego Mogale said a gardener found Holland's body Saturday in her home in Melville, a suburb of Johannesburg, dead from an apparent suicide (hanging from a tree). Mogale said there were no signs of foul play, nor any items missing from her home to suggest a burglary. – (News report here)

Holland grew up in Zimbabwe, then white-controlled Rhodesia. She interviewed Mugabe in November 2007, after he ordered white-owned farms seized, which saw hundreds of thousands of black farm labourers lose their jobs, fertile lands wasted and nearly a third of the population flee. Later in his rule, he'd unleash soldiers and ruling party members on opposition supporters, who killed and injured with impunity.

Holland recently published "100 Years of Struggle: Mandela's ANC," a book about South Africa's governing African National Congress. She has had articles published in a number of newspapers as a freelance journalist, and had an occasional column in Johannesburg newspaper The Star.


The Struggle
The Struggle: A History of the African National Congress was released by George Braziller publishing company in April 1990. Holland explores the peaceful and violent protestations of the political party - (Nothing has changed much). She also looks at the communist ties of the party as well as the roots of apartheid ideology. The book received favourable reviews, with The New York Times citing it as a 'concise' and 'informative' history of the political party.

Born in Soweto
In 1994, Penguin published Born in Soweto: Inside the Heart of South Africa. The book is a description of life told by Soweto's residents. It is also illustrated.

African Magic
In 2001, Penguin published Africa Magic: Traditional Ideas That Heal a Continent. The book is an exploration of Sub Saharan Africa's natural philosophies looking at ways healers have used traditional belief systems to deal with things such as medical and marital issues.
See also this post on this blog.

The Colour of Murder
In 2006, Holland released a South Africa–based true crime investigation of racism and violence in The Colour of Murder: One family's horror exposes a nation's anguish. In the book she explores the controversial family dynamics and racial politics of the Van Schoor family, a white South African family. She focuses on the patriarch Louis Van Schoor, a former East London security guard who is alleged to have shot over a hundred black people during apartheid. Then there is his daughter Sabrina Van Schoor, who made friends in the coloured community (to her parent’s disapproval) as a child and later gave birth to a coloured child, Tatum. In 2001 she ordered a hitman to kill her mother, Beverley on the grounds that she was a racist. She won many awards for this book, including a Pulitzer award.

Dinner with Mugabe
The title Dinner with Mugabe: The Untold Story of a Freedom Fighter Who Became a Tyrant, relates to an encounter between Holland and Mugabe in 1975 when a friend brought him to her house for a secret dinner as he was about to flee the country to wage a guerrilla war against the government of Rhodesia. Yet Holland was significant as a white journalist to have secured a 2½-hour interview with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe in December 2007. It took 18 months to secure the interview. In the book Holland explores the transformation of the man she met in 1975 with his present state. She also looks at his relationships with those such as his first wife, Sally, Lord Soames, Rhodesia's last British governor; Denis Norman, a white farmer who held several portfolios in his early governments as well as with the former Rhodesian Premier Ian Smith. She also questions the president on controversial issues such as Gukurahundi and land reform in Zimbabwe. Several excerpts of the book have appeared in the international press and it is published by Penguin South Africa.

Main Source: Wikipedia


Anonymous said...

i find it hard to believe that she hung herself. She just doesnt appear to be that sort of person. Maybe someone hung her??