The Sabi by Diane Brown

imageBorn in South Africa when apartheid was in full throttle Diane Brown shares her story. Diane suffered through violence and racism slashing her sense of self which lead to a failed suicide attempt.

“I was born into a violent world. I grew up in violence. I live in a violent world. I experienced and witnessed violence in my home, in my school, on the playgrounds, in the streets, among siblings, in relationships, on the television, among parents and everywhere else. In South Africa violence is pandemic, and it is as common a phenomenon and part of our culture and psyche as boerewors, biltong and sunny skies.”

Her father was both physical and verbally abusive towards Diane as well as the entire family. He was a overzealous disciplinarian, no doubt sole ruler of his castle.

Despite Diane being born with both African and European heritage, her looks resembled more of an African woman. She suffered a tremendous amount of violence and racism based on her looks. Unfortunately her skin color and hair texture caused her grief within her family, siblings possessing lighter skin and silkier hair deemed more attractive. Thus being treated in this manner incited a path towards depression.

“The people in my life have done unthinkable things and said hurtful things to me; I try to step outside of my pain and let things go, and once again embrace them, because we all make mistakes. But it has been my experience that I am not allowed to make mistakes or have flaws, which is an impossibility of course, because I am flawed. But the retaliation and punishment that I receive in these times I feel do not fit the flaws or the perceived crime. Sometimes I could just be presumed to be flawed and then I am punished. Those punishments, particularly when they attack who I am naturally, my character and life decisions, are painful beyond measure.”

Diane was fortunate to discover her essence and accept herself and change for the better. Listening to her inner voice “The Sabi” the reader joins her in her self-discovering sojourn.

“It was their turn to realise any value in me and treat me like I was important to them, and if they could not do that I did not want them in my space, no matter how much I loved them.”

Reading of Diane’s treatment was tough at times, often I closed the book and stepped away. She is brave and unselfish in telling her story and it is greatly acknowledged. An array of emotions will be tested reading this story.

The Sabi is insightful, the apartheid regime is explored – including color classification. Diane’s story is inspiring beyond words. This is not just a story of violence and abuse, this is a story of one amazingly strong woman’s healing. A story of a courageous woman with incredible staying power overcoming injustices.


Paperback, 254 pages
Published July 1st 2013 by New Generation Publishing (first published June 13th 2013)
ISBN13: 9781909740846


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