The cover of the book Undercover with Mandela’s Spies does justice to what is inside.
The cover shows four men of a different race walking hand in hand looking towards the future.
This is precisely the vision that the author Bradley ‘Hawk’ Steyn of this risk-taking memoir reveals and shares with readers.
A story about shaping a democratic future with compatriots from different races.
In Undercover with Mandela’s Spies, Steyn narrates his personal account of how one event changed his entire youth and how it continues to change how he relates to the people around him.
The event that changed Steyn’s life took place on 15 November 1988 in Pretoria, where a white supremacist and hardcore racist Barend Strydom massacred black people.
Steyn, unfortunately, found himself in the middle of it.
Failing to deal with the emotional aftermath of that massacre, young Steyn joined the racist apartheid military to deal with his emotions.
However, what followed after that was a life and death situation that Steyn had to live with until he decided to change his ways.
Not giving away too much, Steyn decided to change ‘teams’ and joined the liberation movement, the African National Congress’s intelligence service as a spy to his former boss in the Special Branch.
Undercover with Mandela’s Spies is brave, risk-taking and dangerous. Readers will firstly be left emotional, with how Steyn narrates the events of the massacre.
Secondly and most importantly readers will be intrigued with how Steyn managed to navigates his multiple identities by serving both the regimes.
The chapters of the book are like a magnet that keeps pulling you in to keep on reading, the intensity builds with every chapter.
Two things are bound to happen to a reader once they flip through the pages.
One, you will either see Steyn as a hero if you believe in a non-racial and democratic South Africa or two, a traitor if you are a supporter of white nationalist agenda.
Reading this book is like watching the movie Sarafina, after reading it, you will never be yourself again.
Steyn’s life story is like scenes from a movie and I will not be surprised if one day this book is turned into a movie.
This book is a must read for everyone, especially youngsters who do not know a lot about the Strydom massacre of 1989 and also white men who were born and were youngsters in the 1980s. This book will offer some advice and remedy to some of these men and their families.
While Steyn has surely pissed a few people off with this book and once again put his life in danger, he, however, has given hope to many people, especially the family of the victims and survivors of that Strydom massacre.