The Emergency Bouzouki Player


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 3 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.


The 2019 background story is here

Order Paperback or Kindle here


Reviews on the Amazon Kindle Page are Here.

Pictures from the book are here.




Kimberley. 1979



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