The Emergency Bouzouki Player is the true story of a teenager railroaded into the South African army for two years of national service at the height of the ‘Border War’. A saga that begins in the small Cretan village of Sfakia, continues through leafy Johannesburg, visits dusty Kimberley, the psychiatric ward 5 at Military Hospital in Bloemfontein, Detention Barracks in Voortrekkerhoogte, the Caprivi Strip on the Angolan Border and ends on a rainy morning at Heathrow.
The cruelty, the absurdity and the mindlessness of life in the apartheid-era South African army are candidly described in this first-hand account by a young conscript who, to escape the infamous Diskobolos Infantry Training Camp and its murderous instructors, claimed he could play the bouzouki in a subterfuge that was to have unforeseen, sometimes comical and sometimes life-threatening consequences.
Most of all, the Emergency Bouzouki Player is a tribute to the resilience of youth and proof that the human capacity for optimism generates its own unstoppable force.
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