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The Man Who Killed Apartheid: The Life of Dimitri Tsafendas

The Man Who Killed Apartheid: The Life of Dimitri Tsafendas

  • R 29000

by Harris Dousemetzis

In the South African House of Assembly, on 6 September 1966, Dimitri Tsafendas stabbed to death Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd. Afterwards, Tsafendas was declared to be a schizophrenic who believed a tapeworm lived inside him which controlled his actions, and that he had no political motive for assassinating Verwoerd. Pronounced unfit to stand trial, Tsafendas went down in history as a deranged parliamentary messenger.

For fifty years, this story prevailed. However, this book now reveals the truth about Tsafendas; that he was deeply political from an early age. He was arrested numerous times, starting in Mozambique, the country of his birth. In Portugal, the security police opened a file on him in 1938, when he was aged only twenty. After the assassination, Tsafendas volunteered a series of incontestable political reasons for killing Verwoerd, but these, along with details of his political past, were never allowed to see the light of day.

This book reveals the extent of the cover-up by South Africa’s authorities and the desperate lengths they went to conceal the existence of Tsafendas’s opposition to apartheid. The book exposes one of the great lies in South African history, that Verwoerd was murdered by a mad man. It also offers for the first time a complete biography of this extraordinary man.

Advocate George Bizos characterised Dousemetzis’s work on Tsafendas and Verwoerd’s assassination as ‘monumental’ and of being ‘of major historical importance for South Africa and as to our understanding of Verwoerd’s assassination’. Professor John Dugard said ‘South African history should know the truth about Tsafendas. Dousemetzis has done South Africa a service by correcting the historical record.’


Harris Dousemetzis is a tutor at the School of Government and International Affairs at Durham University, England and holds a PhD in politics (The Presidency of Jimmy Carter and the Emerging Politics of Gay Rights and Evangelical Religion) from the same university. He is also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and worked as Associate Lecturer at Northumbria University in Newcastle from 2012 to 2014. He has been researching the story of Dimitri Tsafendas for nearly 10 years.


ISBN 978-1-4314-2754-3 
GENRE Politics/History   
FORMAT Trade Paperback 
SIZE 255x135mm
EXTENT 328pp 
RELEASE October 2018

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