And They Didn't Die (Lauretta Ngcobo)

"A group of about 20 women quietly dropped their pass books at her feet and sat around shielding her. Jezile, facing away from the assembly of policemen, stealthily set the pile of books alight...Then there was a sudden cry of triumph from the women who were mingling and dancing... The police were thrown into total confusion..."

"A group of about 20 women quietly dropped their pass books at her feet and sat around shielding her. Jezile, facing away from the assembly of policemen, stealthily set the pile of books alight...Then there was a sudden cry of triumph from the women who were mingling and dancing... The police were thrown into total confusion..."

South Africa / 1990

And They Didn't Die is a novel about rural South African women who find unique tactics to resist Apartheid and patriarchal oppression. These women live in a village without men. During Apartheid, men were compelled to work in cities and live separately from their women and children. While their men are away, the vulnerable women of the village must fight for themselves. 
During Apartheid, Black South Africans were treated like immigrants in their own country. They had to prove "citizenship" by showing "passes" to white authorities; and it was a serious crime to not always carry it on you. This excerpt deals with the moment when the women triumphantly destroy their passes in front of the police. They defiantly burn them and break out in triumphant song. While this act may seem small, it was significant to these women because it was a rare moment when Black women could assert their humanity and undermine the hegemonic power structures that kept them hungry, landless, and manless. In addition to white oppression, the women also had to cope with gender inequality. As Miss Ngcobo puts it: "We women have to endure the oppression of our oppressed men."

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