“The lessons of history, particularly the recent history of Africa, tell us that the timing has to be right for democracy to have a chance. Democracies can be abused and manipulated just as easily as any other kind of regime. In many African countries that timing was wrong; our near neighbour, Zimbabwe is a classic example. Here in South Africa, the timing seems to have been right. Whatever the problems this country faces, many of which I chronicle here, there are many positives and the necessary adjustments are being made by all.”
It is possible to live several lives. Such is the case of Terence J. Walter who had one in Great Britain and one in South Africa.
This vivid and honest account of a policeman’s responsibility starts in the borough of Hackney in London. Then, the author takes us on a remarkable journey around South Africa, the country where his profession brought him later in life. More than an insightful account of a policeman’s work, Terence Walter’s book is a complex study of human weaknesses and obsessions. Through his lens, policemen are both everyday heroes and psychologists.
The South African adventure then enters the scene as a new beginning in the author’s life. The homage he pays to this country is much related to the deep admiration Walter has towards Nelson Mandela, whom he shook hands with in the beginning of the 1990s. This great historic and political figure embodies South Africa, a place the writer describes with a remarkable sense of observation: its landscapes, its people and their cultures, as well as the complex social structures and the deep inhumanity of apartheid, are the pillars of Walter’s experience.
One should read A Policeman’s Lot as a two-folded work: a detailed policeman’s inquiry into the cities’ underground life, and the diary of a man who made South Africa his second home.
A Polieman’s Lot by Terence J. Walter
1095103156 / Independently published (April 2019)
Review by Ioana Danaila
Ioana Danaila was born in Romania. She graduated from University Lyon 2 Lumière with a Masters in African Postcolonial Literature and a First degree in French for Non-Francophone people. She is the author of a collection of short stories and a translator of books from French to Romanian. She is trilingual in Romanian, French and English, and teaches English language and literature to highschool students in France.