Poetry, short stories and novels were just one part of Achmat Dangor’s life. Another was his career as a humanitarian and literary activist in his home country, South Africa.
Dangor’s novels, including Bitter Fruit, all look at the absurdities of racial distinctions and are informed by his upbringing in apartheid South Africa. He knew better than most about the arbitrariness of skin colour: ‘I am an African with Asian and Dutch blood in me, I don’t know what race I am, and I don’t care’, is how he once described himself.
At the centre of Bitter Fruit, a novel that sits on the transition between apartheid and post-apartheid South Africa, is the child of an interracial rape and a story of the damaging effects of historical actions.