White Woman, Black Nationalists – Diana Mitchell’s Memoir

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Art, Colonialism, Freedom Fighters, Human rights, Politics, Racism, ZambiaLeave a Comment

Diana Mitchell – an important Zimbabwean journalist and archivist I was delighted to be told of Diana Mitchell’s memoir and bought it immediately. Its 300 pages are densely packed with Diana’s personal and political life over the period when Rhodesia became Zimbabwe. It isn’t a quick read for me – every page contains so much that relates to my life […]

Blame it on the man in the brandy barrel – Admiral Nelson

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Apartheid, Art, Books, Colonialism, Family, identity, Migration, Politics, Power, Racism, South Africa, The Shaping of Water, The Tin Heart Gold Mine, When I Was Bad11 Comments

Art and storytelling 200 years later by a distant descendant. Born into the British Empire during the Second World War in a colonial country that no longer exists, I’ve been flung around in a turbulent vortex of political and personal change. My art and my writing are the ways I hang on to the world spinning around me. I have […]

The purpose and power of poetry

Ruth HartleyPoetry, Politics, Publication, Songs, Writing, Zambia4 Comments

At school, we learnt to declaim poetry. It was mostly heroic stuff designed to inspire patriotism and action like Felicia Dorothea Heman’s Casabianca about filial duty and Thomas Macaulay’s incredibly lengthy poem Horatius at the Bridge about courage. We weren’t taught to make poetry, and poetry was never going to be about us and our lives. Even though this kind […]

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 […]

Truth and storytelling, minds, hearts and history

Ruth HartleyHistory, Human rights, justice, Politics, Power, Storytelling, TruthLeave a Comment

There are those moments when something you read strikes you so forcibly that you know you must embrace it and consider it carefully. When this happens to me it’s usually for an important reason. It may throw a clear light on something that’s happening in my life or in life in general that I need to grasp intellectually. It may […]