MARIE MJACU


CARSTEN RASCH’S memoir Between Rock and a Hard Place, is a rollercoaster in every sense of the word.

His story takes readers on a journey in South Africa during apartheid, through the eyes of a young, usually broke, and often times high or drunk, Afrikaans man desperate to make a change. Evoking a Johnny is Nie Dood Nie feeling of psychedelic rebellion and extravagance, Rasch’s book takes readers into the subversive South African music industry at one of its most tumultuous times.

Writing about a time of oppression and revolution, Rasch tracks his personal journey of self-discovery while South Africa too was tracking her own path to a new identity.

As a white Afrikaans man living under apartheid, Rasch’s tone can at times ring of a certain level of self-importance of being a white man who opposed the National Party’s regime and rule.

He often shares his sentiment of being anti-establishment and counter-culture in a way that almost equates it to being something of a revolutionary against the apartheid state, when in actual fact his angst is more to do with a personal sense of revolution than a political one.

Nevertheless, the memoir is a rock and roll concert for the most part, and Rasch evokes many a scene almost tangible to the reader. Maties will be happy to know that Stellenbosch features in the book as it is where Rasch attended university (if one can say that despite of his infrequent attendance and failure to graduate).

A book ultimately about music, the jol, drugs, booze, resistance and a lot of fun.

This memoir is certainly one which should be devoured in big chunks.

Many a laugh-out-loud moments make this book a reckless and exciting journey which will certainly leave South Africans saying hectic!