When I Was Bad

Ruth HartleyApartheid, Family, Feminism, Human rights, Marriage, Religion, South Africa, When I Was BadLeave a Comment

Wicked women Bridget and I are the same age and we were both ‘unmarried mothers’ a long time ago. Bridget became pregnant in Ireland at 17 years. She escaped to London but was sent home by a priest to the torture of the brutal Bessborough home, a Catholic institution for unmarried mothers. Her tragic story and the death of her […]

From 1966 District Six in Cape Town to Zambia and back – the start of this writer’s journey

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Apartheid, Family, History, Mpapa Gallery, Politics, Racism, Religion, South Africa, When I Was Bad, Zambia14 Comments

Beyond reconciliation – a virtual walk through different faiths At the start of this week, I was invited to participate in this online event by Nic Paton, grandson of Alan Paton, author of Cry The Beloved Country. Thank you, Nic! The event was organised by the District Six Reconciliation Day Interfaith Walk. It was a healing and uplifting hour and […]

Tall stories, true stories, lies, fiction, facts and truth-telling

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Apartheid, Books, Family, Poetry, Reading, South Africa, Storytelling, The Love and Wisdom Crimes, The Spiral-Bound Notebooks, When I Was Bad, Writing, Writing ProcessLeave a Comment

Writing fictions, memoirs and versions of my truth In the last few months I have published three books. The first is a novel, the second is a book of poetry, the inspiration on which the novel is based and the third is a memoir. They are – The Love and Wisdom Crimes A coming-of-age adventure story about a young white […]

Hop, skip and jump to the heartbeat of life

Ruth HartleyArt Process, Creativity, Family, Imagination, Poetry, Songs, Writing, Writing Process5 Comments

The Child in the Garden The child in the garden goes hop, skip and jump and sings to herself. She dances her world into being. The garden is dusty, dry sand, withered leaves and sharp-edged stones. The child draws in the dirt. The garden is a clearing in a forest, a marketplace of musical insects, a place where snakes wait […]

Tears, fears, longing, belonging and living.

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Apartheid, Art, Colonialism, Creativity, Displacement, Family, Freedom Fighters, Human rights, identity, justice, Migration, Poetry, Politics, Power, Race, Racism, Religion, South Africa, War, Zambia2 Comments

Why I cried about who I might become “Why do you want to become a French citizen?” I was asked this question at the end of a gruelling two hour naturalisation interview. I burst into tears. “It’s such a difficult and important decision,” I replied, sniffling. “I’ve had to leave too many places I thought of as home. I want […]