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We found this moving poem in Voices magazine on-line: . It is by Sean Hosey's father John Hosey. In 1972, finding that his son (one of the London Recruits) had been arrested, he went out to South Africa to support him and wrote this poem after attending the trial. "Joe Boshoff" refers to the judge. "The Actor man" presumably refers to actor David Tomlinson, who also attended the trial.The accused became known as the "Pretoria Six", and John names them in this poem. Sean was sentenced to five years imprisonment, which he served in full. 

You smiled quietly as you mounted the steps
From the cells below. I couldn't hear As your lips moved, but I knew you said Hello dad. Your cheeks are pale The flesh is taut I will bring you some food tomorrow Some apples and pears and oranges too Am I staring too hard? Have they broken you With obscenity and cruelty Joe Boshoff, surrounded By a dozen Mein Kampfs A court of jackboots Make you tremble I will watch your hands To see if they shake But Wrath"

In submission
Perhaps tis not submission
But wrath
I am no good at guessing
Nor am I psychic
I will wait till I hear
If you condemn or condone.

My brain is afire
I cannot sleep
I pace the room
Accusations, accusations, accusations
That you
Hosey, Moumbaris, Cholo, Mthembu, Sejaka, Mpanza
Conspiracies, conspiracies, conspiracies
By leaflet, disturb the minds
Of peaceful people
Leaflets, leaflets, leaflets.
But did you succumb
Tomorrow I will know.

I don't like this V.I.P. box
I would sit with Cholo's mother
And hold her brave black hand
But I cannot hear so far away
And I must hear
To tell the world

The Actor man beside me
Makes me sick
He shouldn't be here
In this land of Apartheid
Regaling the 'Boss-man'
With his actor talents
Then acting still, remarks
They are all very brave

You looked at me
As you walked to the stand
And smiled in that delightful way
My heart was bursting
My son, my son
What would it be
Defeat or victory
And then I heard you
Loud and clear
'I'd do it all over again'
I clapped my hands in rapturous

John Hosey

London Recruits on BBC Radio 4

Click here to download (40MB) Radio 4’s Saturday Live podcast of Steve Marsling and Sean Hosey telling the story of their lives as undercover ANC recruits.

Interview starts at 48.48.

Alternatively visit the Radio 4 website to listen to the interview. Their part starts more than 45 minutes into the programme.

Steve and Sean were both members of the Young Communist League. YCL London District Secretary Bob Allen recruited Steve, who in turn recruited Sean. On his second mission, in 1972, Sean was arrested in Durban, tortured, kept in solitary confinement, and jailed for five years under South Africa’s Suppression of Communism Act. In this interview, he gives a very moving account of his experiences.

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