Catch A Fire Film captures violent apartheid years in South Africa

I watched the film entitled Catch a Fire starring Tim Robbins and Derek Luke recently.  Having lived in South Africa during the years of apartheid, I could appreciate how authentic the film was, with dramatic scenery as the background.

It was based on the true story of a black South African who fought for freedom for his fellow countrymen.  Like Nelson Mandela, he spent many years on Robben Island, Cape Town before being released.

Prior to that he had been captured by the Afrikaaner police and was unmercifully tortured, as were many of his fellow countrymen.  Despite his hatred for the one man who persevered in tracking him down, considering him to be a terrorist, and who was responsible for his torture, he buried his hatred, remarried and opened an orphanage for deprived South African children. 

A hard hitting film produced in 2006 with excellent actors – to name some of them –  Bonnie Henna, Mncedisi Shabangu, Tumisho K Masha, Sithembiso Khumalo, Tery Pheto, Michele Burgers.

My novel entitled Tears of Shame portrays some of the tragedies played out during the apartheid years in South Africa and will shortly be available on Kindle.

Eugenie C Smith


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TWO SHADES OF BLACK now available on Kindle

Just a few years ago the way we read books changed with the launch of the first e-book whereby readers could download and read electronic versions of books.

Today technology has moved even further and a device called a Kindle has developed –  a wireless reading device made and sold by Amazon which  interfaces with Amazon’s online store.  Because the Kindle is wireless it can be accessed without connecting the device to a computer  Therefore, you can buy and download electronic books wherever a WIFI signal is available.

This wonderful device was not available when my book entitled Two Shades of Black was published  in August 2009 and was made available on   Now it is also available on Kindle on  and it can be down loaded for the price of just £2.10

The high contrast screen on the Kindle device makes the print as legible as though you are reading the pages of a printed book so there is no need to look for shade in order to see the print clearly.  Instead of packing and searching for suitable books to take on holiday, just take your Kindle and it will hold as many titles as you will need.

This is a first class reading device which is definitely here to stay so I hope those readers who have enjoyed reading Two Shades of Black will look out for my next book entitled Tears of Shame which will also be available on Kindle very soon.

until next time


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What Makes a Good Writer

I have recently been asked What Makes a Good Writer?

My assessment of a good writer is that he or she must have experience in the subject they are writing about.   Qualifications can be important, as written English is essential.   However, experience of life in general helps considerably.

Many people say I’ve got a book inside me and many think that their particular book is bound to be a best seller, but alas in order to reach publication, a lot of hard work and luck is needed.

A good writer, therefore, must be tenacious, imaginative and very patient if he is to find the publisher who likes his work.

Living and working in foreign countries as I have done over the years is a distinct advantage, but most of all good writers must love and be dedicated to their work so that it is a labour of love and not purely for monetary gain.

Good luck to all writers in 2011


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Remembering Rhodesia

Rhodesia was once named The Jewel of Africa.   This was brought to mind again whilst I was watching the programme Zimbabwe’s Forgotten Children on BBC television recently.

I spent a lot of time in Rhodesia (now named Zimbabwe) with my husband and children during the time of apartheid in South Africa.  Crossing over Beit Bridge from South Africa into Rhodesia was like entering another world in those days.  Gone was the apartheid system and people of all nationalities could mix freely.

We stayed in National Parks accommodation which were well run and safe during a six week holiday touring Rhodesia.  We stayed at the Highlands Park Hotel in Salisbury (now renamed Harare) – a beautiful hotel, well run by efficient staff.   Everywhere we went we witnessed happy people, all going about their business and nowhere did we see any evidence of the people residing in Rhodesia of any race suffering from hunger.  In those days there was little or no tourism so we were able to witness the true way of life of the indigenous people in their natural habitat and although not rich, their way of life was relaxed and happy.

All the children went to school in smart uniforms and how sad it was to see in the documentary “Zimbabwe’s Forgotten Children” that they are now being charged to go to school when they can barely feed themselves.

My recent book entitled Tears of Shame (awaiting publication)  set in South Africa and Rhodesia in the years of apartheid until the present day, tells how it was then and now, and is based on a true story of a young girl who becomes a maid in the household of an English family struggling with the problems of apartheid in South Africa.  She visits Rhodesia and falls in love with this beautiful country, as she is free to mix with people of all nationalities.

Sad, romantic and historical Tears of Shame will enlighten those people about the days before Rhodesia was renamed Zimbabwe and how South Africa has changed post apartheid.


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Apartheid Years in South Africa brilliantly portrayed

Having lived in South Africa (Johannesburg and Cape Town) during the years of apartheid,  I was extremely impressed by the performance of Sophie Okonedo in the role of a dark skinned girl who was born to white Afrikaner parents in the film entitled Skin.  I was very surprised though that such an excellent film was shown on BBC2 so late at night.  This film was surely worthy of prime time  television.

My book entitled Tears of Shame due for publication is based on fact drawn from experiences and the people I met during five years of living in South Africa during those years of apartheid.   It highlights the suffering of many dark skinned people and shows the difference in how a mere crossing into Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) at Beit Bridge could make a difference to dark skinned people who were allowed to mix freely with white people in Rhodesia.

More details about my two books entitled Tears of Shame and Two Shades of Black can be seen by scrolling down this page and other comments about racism are in the previous blogs.

Well done to Sophia Okonedo for her brilliant performance.


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New book ‘Spanish Fantasy’ nearing completion

My next book entitled ‘Spanish Fantasy’ is a total departure from the previous books I have written which were all about Africa, but there is a similarity, in that ‘Spanish Fantasy’ is fiction based on fact, as I was caught up in the glitzy world of property during the boom years of selling in Spain in the  1980’s.

Horror stories still abound about people who had bad experiences, but I am happy to say that everyone I came into contact with during those years are still enjoying their dream homes in the sun.  It is a pity that the media only seem to write about people who have experienced disasters, as the vast majority of people I know who bought in Spain have no problems.

‘Spanish Fantasy’ is a light-hearted story based on the lives of several English people who became Agents for Developers in the sale of property in Spain’s jet setting Costa del sol during the halcyon days of the property boom in the early 1980’s

Flushed with success and earning mega bucks, they become caught up in life in the fast lane of super cars, five-star hotels, champagne breakfasts, beach parties and the adulation of their clients, many of whom bought villas because they were fascinated by the exciting image created by these glamorous sales people.

‘Spanish Fantasy’ takes a peep behind the scenes revealing the true stories of the men and women who on the surface seemed relaxed and affluent whilst accompanying clients on inspection trips to view properties, not only in popular Marbella, but also East of Malaga including Nerja, Torrox, La Herradura and beautiful Granada.

I hope my book will appeal to, not only those people who purchased property  on the Costa del sol in Spain, but also to those people who would like to walk down memory lane and know how it was in the 1980’s.

More news in my next blog!


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South Africa in the news

South Africa is very much in the news mainly due to the world cup looming on the horizon.  There have been various documentaries shown on television about what is happening now in South Africa, but not many about how it was in the years of apartheid.

Having lived in Cape Town and Johannesburg in the years of apartheid, I have first hand experience of how it was in those days for English speaking South Africans, Afrikaaners and the many coloured races.  This prompted me to write my book entitled Tears of Shame which is fiction based on fact. 

Tears of Shame is now ready for publication and like my recently published book entitled Two Shades of Black is controversial, offering a first person authenticity and historical accuracy told in the eyes of a young coloured maid.

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