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Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination


Yusuf is an earnest Muslim South African who aspires to play a major role in the fight against Apartheid, but he is not a Black African, and the powerful People’s Army leader doubts Yusuf’s commitment to the Cause. In hopes of proving himself worthy, Yusuf and three of his friends commit acts of sabotage in Cape Town’s wealth White suburbs. As the group’s attacks grow increasingly violent and dangerous, Yusuf is confronted with a painful decision. Will he risk his standing in the group in order to stay true to his religious beliefs, which condemn the killing of innocents?

Inspired by the author’s years as an activist in Apartheid-era Cape Town, The Innocents is a gripping novel about loyalty to one’s comrades, one’s religion, and one’s ideals. With pitch-perfect prose and unforgettable characters, Tatamkhulu Afrika powerfully brings to life an utterly unique perspective on one of history’s greatest resistance struggles.


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“[Afrika's] work is consistently clear, unembroidered, often very moving and has won him South Africa's top literary prizes … [The Innocents is] a novel of great depth and sincerity with its 'thriller' element tempered by a sober summation of exactly what taking up arms to achieve a political purpose demands.”

“Revolt, conviction and crisis are drawn into finely crafted contention … a story about the hopes and frailty of our time … that's at once provocative and readable.”


Tatamkhulu Afrika (1920–2004) was born in Egypt and raised by South African foster parents. During his lifetime, he published eight collections of poetry, two novels (including The Innocents) and four novellas, and won every South African prize and award for which his work was eligible.