From the book: The Final Prize by Norman Levy
I literally fell into politics at the age of fourteen, a happening that set my life on a path to prison, exile and finally return to South Africa. What triggered the event was a cycle ride round the streets of Hillbrow on my elder brother’s bicycle when, not expecting to find a meeting by the side of the road, I made a sudden slide from the street onto the pavement.
The speaker was Hilda Watts, Communist Party candidate for the Johannesburg Municipal Council. Her words, belted out in an unfamiliar English accent, somewhat clipped and rhetorical as I remember them, evidently made sense to me and I stayed to listen. The gathering she addressed was a street-corner meeting of a dozen or so individuals, most of them black, voteless, domestic workers, and a small crowd of bemused whites standing on the periphery of the assembly. A few onlookers turned their heads towards me, but the meeting continued as if nothing untoward had happened.
Conspicuous in the gathering was “Ginger” who, while watching me re-set the handle-bars of the borrowed bicycle, introduced himself as Philip Lieberman, aged sixteen and a communist. He told me that if I was interested I could come with him to the next weekly meeting of the Young Communist League, to be held in the city. And so it was that I went in that same week, in February 1944, in search of Ginger and Communism.