The late Wilson Lwandhle Magadhla served in the South African Police Force at the peak of the struggle against the apartheid regime. Even as he remained true to his profession of policing, his heart remained with the freedom fighters; he yearned for a country underlined by equality before the law. Merit, he felt, should be the basis of judging persons rather than the colour of their skin.
Drawing suspicion from both sides of the struggle, the good soldier soldiered on, balancing between loyalty to his people and the profession of keeping law and order.
So what were the conditions like in policing during the years of apartheid? What was life like for a black police officer serving under the authority of one of the most repressive and detested regimes in the world? How did black policemen balance between the need for liberation from the oppressive order of apartheid and their duty to do law enforcement?
Following the fall of the apartheid regime, the author went on to serve in Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC) that was chaired by the Reverend Desmond Tutu. Magadhla was the head of the Special Investigative Section of the commission.
Published posthumously, The Colour of the Skunk is a book for historical records, providing an insider’s account of working in government founded racial discrimination.