Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007


For a few months, when I was a teenager, I knew a woman called Eve Hall. My obituary of her appears in the Guardian, today:

One summer's afternoon in 1970, by the banks of the river Cherwell in Oxford, I went on a picnic and received a political and culinary education. Eve Hall, who has died aged 70, was the wife of my new boss, and she explained to me that the secret of a good potato salad was to use new potatoes and to toss them in olive oil while they were still hot. Sprinkled with finely chopped parsley, they seemed to me then, aged 19, the epitome of continental sophistication.

As we ate, Eve went on to tell me, equally insouciantly, of her time in a South African jail. In a case that had startled the white community in the early 1960s, she was one of four women - "mothers and housewives" - sentenced to six months' imprisonment for a clandestine leaflet and poster campaign promoting the banned ANC.

Eve was born in Paris to a Jewish father and a German mother (her uncle was a famous actor in the Munich theatre). The second world war broke out while her father was visiting South Africa, and her mother was left behind to cope with a half-Jewish child under Nazi occupation - she refused to pin the yellow star on her daughter's clothes. In contrast, her sister-in-law, an opera singer, wore hers with pride, only to be taken from the street to an unknown death camp. Eve's paternal grandmother died in Treblinka.

Arriving in South Africa after the war to join her father, Eve later enrolled at Witwatersrand University, where she met her future husband, Tony. Together, they became, in their own words: "Gypsy journalists and development workers." Eve joined the ANC the day after the Sharpeville massacre in 1960. Four years later, after being listed as members of a banned organisation and prohibited from being published, the couple were forced to leave South Africa with their three sons and banned from ever returning.

Read the rest here

1 comment:

Lisa said...

I hate it when I discover marvelous people after they're dead. I wish I had known her.