Book Review: John Kani’s Nothing But the Truth

Nothing But the Truth by John Kani is a play published in 2002 and is about the reconciliation among family members with the backdrop of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

In this book, the Makhaya family from New Brighton, Port Elizabeth, on come to terms with their painful family past and are in a journey to discover the truth and work on reconciliation. Sipho and Themba were embroiled in a sibling rivalry started by the fact that their parents favoured Themba over Sipho. After Themba’s death, Sipho is still hurting. Through Themba’s daughter, who was born in exile, Sipho seeks healing and takes it upon himself to bury the remains of his brother.

This book is essentially a play, it is therefore written in a form of dialogue that is highly readable.

I quite enjoyed the juxtaposition between family feuds and the cases dealt with at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and how Kani manages to draw parallels between the two without downplaying one or the other.

There really aren’t many negatives to speak of in this play; I tried to enjoy it without nit-picking.

I’d recommend this book to theatre lovers; I would also recommend this book to anyone interested in the political history of South Africa and what negative impact it had on black families.

Out of ten, I rate Nothing But The Truth a nine, taking away the one point solely because no one is perfect.

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