A Gesture of Belonging: Letters from Bessie Head, 1965-1979 Edited by Randolph Vigne
Wits University Press (January 2, 1991)
Soft Cover, 229 pages
"I was born on the 6 July 1937 in the Pietermaritzburg Mental Hospital in South Africa. The reason for my peculiar birthplace was that my mother was white, and she had acquired me from a black man. She was judged insane, and committed to the mental hospital while pregnant." Bessie Head, one of Africa's greatest writers, corresponded with Randolph Vigne, a political and literary friend from her Cape Town days, then editor of "The New African" in London, and this book is a selection from the letters she wrote him. The publication of her letters, writes Vigne, "may give people who did not know Bessie an opportunity to learn what she was like, especially in the hard early years of her exile. I hope the letters will show them that, with her death on 17 April 1986, the light that went out was a bright and inspiring one, however dark the scenes of her life that it illuminated."