My Traitor's Heart

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My Traitor's Heart: A South African Exile Returns to Face His Country, His Tribe and His Conscience
Author Rian Malan
Country South Africa
Language English
Genre Autobiography, Politics
Publisher Atlantic Monthly Press
Publication date
Pages 349
ISBN 0-87113-229-X
OCLC 20016093
968/.00992 B 20
LC Class CT1929.M35 A3 1990

My Traitor's Heart is an autobiographical book by Rian Malan first published in 1990 on his return from exile.[1] It is subtitled South African Exile Returns to Face His Country, His Tribe and His Conscience or Blood and Bad Dreams: A South African Exile Explores the Madness in His Country, His Tribe and Himself.

The book describes Malan's experience of growing up in Apartheid-era South Africa in which he explores race relations through prominent murder cases.[2][3] In addition, he reflects on the history of his family, a prominent Afrikaner clan that migrated to the Cape in the 17th century and included Daniel François Malan, the South African Prime Minister who was a principal ideological force behind Apartheid doctrine.[1]

The book became a best-seller, was translated into 11 languages[4] and was still in print 14 years later. It has been called brilliant.[5]


  1. ^ a b Malan, Rian, My traitor's heart: A South African exile returns to face his country, his tribe and his conscience, New York: Grove Press, ISBN 0-8021-3684-2 
  2. ^ William Finnegan (19 January 1990). "Books of The Times; The Harsh Judgments of a White South African". New York Times. 
  3. ^ Adams, Tim (2007-03-25), "The dark heart of the new South Africa", The Observer, retrieved 2009-09-05 
  4. ^ de Vries, Fred (2008), The Fred de Vries Interviews - From Abdullah to Zille, Wits University Press, p. 325, ISBN 978-1-86814-469-3 
  5. ^ "White Fright". The Washington Post. 10 May 2004. Retrieved 22 October 2016. 

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