Deconstructing the secret world of apartheid spies

Jonathan Ancer's new book explores what it takes to betray those closest to you – and what it means to be betrayed

22 July 2019 - 15:00
How do you lead a double life and not lose yourself, asks Jonathan Ancer in 'Betrayal'.
How do you lead a double life and not lose yourself, asks Jonathan Ancer in 'Betrayal'.
Image: NB Publishers

What does it take to deceive those closest to you? How do you lead a double life and not lose yourself? Is there ever a point of no return?

These are the themes – among others – that Jonathan Ancer explores as he tells the tales of some of South Africa’s most unusual and successful spies: from the navy super-spy on Russia's payroll to the party girl who fell in love with Cuba, from the accidental mole in the heart of Pretoria’s war on the "frontline states" to the idealistic students used and abused in apartheid’s intelligence war.

Their journeys into the shadow world of espionage raise questions about conscience, trust, forgiveness and the very notion of truth in a country that was at war with itself.

From the author of Spy: Uncovering Craig Williamson, this new book delves deep into what it takes to betray those closest to you – and what it means to be betrayed.

"Ancer masterfully deconstructs the secret world of spies … A book filled with intrigue, deceit and subterfuge."
- Jacques Pauw

"This was an era of great deeds by good men and women, and betrayals by those who were gripped by greed and adventure … The most vivid and accessible account to date of the workings of the apartheid forces to thwart the struggle for freedom in our land."
- Mkhuseli Jack

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jonathan Ancer is a journalist who has worked as a reporter at The Star, a features writer for magazines, the editor of Grocott’s Mail and a crossword columnist for the Cape Times. He has produced podcasts and is the co-founder of the.news.letter. He has won awards for breaking news, feature writing and creative writing, and is the author of the highly regarded Spy: Uncovering Craig Williamson. Ancer has four children, one wife and the largest collection of Billy Bunter books in South Africa.


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