Memory is the weapon by Don Mattera
African perspective publications, 2009
Soft cover, 152 pages
The story of Sophiatown has been told before but never with the eloquence that Don Mattera brings to Memory is the Weapon. Many faces make up the whole that was Sophiatown: teeming with political campaigns, bristling with the knives of the underworld and vigorous with the enterprise of ordinary people eking out a living for themselves, all this contributing to a burgeoining culture. Mattera captures it all in colourful and often heart-rending vignettes. These are the memories of a man who has touched the cloaks of the holy and the unholy, broken bread with the rich and the poor, crossed swords with the law and the lawless. The death of Sophiatown will remain an indictment of callousness and cruelty. That it is able to live on in the hearts and minds of generations to come is a proud tribute to the culture and artists it produced.