Kilgore lived as a fugitive in South Africa between 1991 to 2002 under the name John Pape.
In 2002, he was extradited to the US to serve six and half years in prison for political offences he committed in the 1970s. In prison, he enjoyed unlimited access to free water, something which remains out of reach for so many people in South Africa today.
His book, Freedom Never Rests is a fictional account of what happens when there are failures to provide basic services to communities. The book speaks to current realities in South Africa which has become “the protest capital of the world” with citizens despairing about the impossible delays in providing basic services to all citizens.
Freedom Never Rests portrays the historical roots of the service delivery revolts that have swept South Africa in recent years. It centres around an engaging and tragic couple: unemployed ex-shop steward revolutionary Monwabisi Radebe and his wife, Constantia, a former nursery school aide turned local councillor in the fictional Eastern Cape township of Sivuyile. Their relationship is a metaphor for the new democratic order. As the council implements prepaid meters and water cut-offs are visited upon dozens of households in Sivuyile, the idealistic Monwabisi faces the most difficult of choices: to remain loyal to a loving wife and mother of his children who now represents an increasingly discredited council or take to the streets with disenchanted residents.
Hosts for this visit, Jacana Media, explain that the book avoids simplistic analyses and triumphant rhetoric, laying bare the political and personal intricacies of community struggles. On a grand political canvas artfully and sometimes humorously drawn, Monwabisi and a host of other intriguing and compelling characters pull us into the moral and economic dilemmas of street-level organisation and force us to confront the complexity of democracy in our country.
Khulumani members hope to be able to meet Mr Kilgore during his visit to South Africa.
His travel schedule is
- Cape Town from 7 - 16 July and 25 – 28 July;
- Johannesburg from 16 - 22 July; and
- Durban from 23 - 24 July.
More information is available from
Neilwe Mashigo, JACANA MEDIA Publishing Intern: