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Sunday, December 30, 2012


Roger Lucey’s autobiography offers an uncompromising “no holds barred” style. (Review by Keith Millar)

The second half of the last century was both an exciting and traumatic time to live and grow up in South Africa.

Exciting because the baby boomer generation was starting to make their presence felt. Young people in general were more emancipated, and were rejecting traditional values, and a sense of independence prevailed.

The trauma was caused by the evils of the apartheid system, which relegated the majority of the country’s population to a role of second class citizens, reached its zenith during this time.

It was against this background that Roger Lucey grew up an angry and very disillusioned young man.

It is this anger which is the overriding theme of his autobiography, Back From The Anger.  In the book he talks of his rebellious youth, his violent and abusive family life, and his ever-increasing dependence on drugs. All this helped to mould a character at war with himself and with the world in general.

At heart Lucey was, and remains, a troubadour. In the late 1970’s he was beginning to achieve some success as a singer/songwriter. However, his songs protested against the cruel and violent apartheid system. This brought him to the attention of the South African Security Police which embarked on a covert operation to effectively end his musical career.

Lucey was forced to look in other directions for his livelihood and he became a barman, a roadie, a sound engineer and finally an accomplished news cameramen. There are several graphic and disturbing episodes in the book where he describes his experiences covering conflicts in South Africa, Croatia and Chechnya.

Another important aspect of Lucey’s life was his role as an activist against the apartheid regime. Although it does seem as if his efforts were restricted to the lyrics of his songs, as it is a little difficult to find anything more concrete in his story.

Back From The Anger is written in an uncompromising “no holds barred” style. The language is easy to read and the story moves along at a good pace.

I enjoyed the book insofar as the time period and the locations written about match closely with my own life. I could relate strongly with many of the experiences written about, and as such it served very much as a trip down memory lane.

I would recommend this book to all who lived through this era as an accurate record of the events. However, I am not sure of its wider appeal. It is a harrowing tale of a very angry person who does little to endear himself to his reader. In the end my feeling was that I couldn’t care less about the outcome of the story.

Ultimately, I suppose Lucey should be congratulated for conquering his devils and for finding a measure contentment and peace in his life.

Back From The Anger is published by Jacana Media. ISBN 978-1-4314-0453-7. Recommended retail price is R226. – Keith Millar