Sunday Times Books LIVE Community Sign up

Login to Sunday Times Books LIVE

Forgotten password?

Forgotten your password?

Enter your username or email address and we'll send you reset instructions

Sunday Times Books LIVE


@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Read an Extract from Spanner in the Works: Pat Fahrenfort’s Journey from Factory Floors to Corridors of Power

Spanner in the WorksSpanner in the Works by Pat Fahrenfort is the story of one woman’s journey from the factory floors of Cape Town to being part of the country’s first post-apartheid administration. It provides a unique view of the challenges faced by ordinary South Africans under the extraordinary circumstances of that unforgettable period of history. Fahrenfort’s story is an unflinchingly frank account of one woman’s resolve to speak truth to power, irrespective of where she discovers it.

Namibiana Buchdepot has shared an excerpt from Spanner in the Works in which Fahrenfort introduces herself and her family. Her story is not unlike the one told by many South Africans who were classified as non-white, but speaks with a unique voice about the daily struggles of ordinary working class people who had to negotiate their way through an unforgiving system.

Read the excerpt for a taste of what to expect from Spanner in the Works:

From the school bench to the factory floor

I didn’t know what to expect from my first job, certainly not that I’d be working until my fingers bled. It was 1960 and the year I came of age. I was fifteen. With my slight build and short stature I was often mistaken for a boy or a young child, so I began wearing my hair loose on my shoulders, the top part teased up Brigitte Bardot-style with a fringe over my too-broad forehead, and I would fill up my bra with cotton wool. “As jy wil ougat wees, moet jy gaan werk,” my mother would say when my sisters and I wanted to dress up. My parents believed that when you began to fret about your appearance, you were old enough to work.

Book details


Please register or log in to comment