A true story, this gripping narrative reads like a political thriller as it describes one South African town's year of terror in the early days of the new post-apartheid government. Sifiso Nkabinde, the regional leader of the African National Congress (ANC) in the town of Richmond, KwaZulu Natal, is expelled for being a police spy. A self-proclaimed warlord during the conflict in the area in the early 1990s, he reverts to violent activities following his expulsion and is believed by the townspeople to be responsible for inciting a small-scale civil war in Richmond that leaves more than 100 people dead over the course of a year. The mayor of the town, who is the author of this account, stands firmly in charge even as he is under constant threat by Nkabinde's henchmen. This deeply moving account stands as a testament to the importance and fragility of democracy.
Andrew Ragavaloo is a former student activist and ANC member who was serving in 1997 as the mayor of Richmond, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, when post election riots broke out. He was widely praised for his peace efforts in that crisis and now serves as the speaker of the Richmond Council and the principal of Richmond Combined School.