Thursday, May 17, 2018

Brutal Legacy

In some ways, my innocence was shattered when I saw Tracy Going’s battered face splashed across the newspapers in the late 90s. I was in primary school at the time, and Tracy was a familiar face. I had watched her programmes and was fond of her bubbly, yet credible personality.

Having grown up in a household where domestic violence was not a reality, it was the first time that I was made aware that it actually happened and that the victims could be people I know. I remember finding it unbelievable that a successful, famous woman on TV could be assaulted, let alone by her partner.

That moment has stayed with me for years, and I have often wondered what happened to her after she retired from her media career. This book answers all those questions as it delves into that dark time and the years that followed. Tracy writes about her attempt to seek justice and put her life back together.

She delves into her childhood, where she first experienced abuse and explains how, and despite vowing that she would never be a victim of abuse, she found herself on the receiving end of kicks and punches as an adult.

This important book comes at a time when most of us are doing some introspection about gender-based violence and patriarchy. Like Redi Tlhabi’s Khwezi, this book is critical of the justice system in South Africa and shows how our courtrooms often become a place to belittle and humiliate female victims, even when the evidence against perpetrators of violence is abundant.

This book is beautifully written. Tracy is as eloquent on paper as she is on television and radio. It is incredibly thought-provoking and one of my favourite books of the year. I do hope she will write another.

Brutal Legacy by Tracy Going (MF Books Joburg, 2018)