The Lion and the Thespian

  • The True Story of Prime Minister J G Strydom’s Marriage to the Actress Marda Vanne
  • Author: David Bloomberg
  • ISBN: 9781928257356
  • Publication date: 1 August 2017
  • Recommended retail price: R300.00
  • 234x156mm / Trade paperback / 344 pages + 8 page photo section

Margaretha van Hulsteyn (also known as Scrappy) is the daughter of respected Pretoria attorney Sir Willem van Hulsteyn, and an aspiring actress. While studying in London after the Great War, Scrappy changes her name to Marda Vanne and enters into a relationship with one of the foremost actresses of her day, Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies. However, on a visit to her parents in the Union of South Africa, Marda meets Hans Strydom, an attorney and uncompromising radical politician with the soubriquet ‘The Lion of the North’. Their meeting changes the course of her life, at least temporarily… Strydom went on to become a principal progenitor of the harshest discriminatory legislation which endured for decades until his nephew, President FW de Klerk, in a volte-face, dismantled the laws of apartheid.
A work of biographical fiction, The Lion and the Thespian is based on the true story of the marriage of Hans Strydom, prime minister of South Africa from 1954 to 1958, to the actress Marda Vanne. Veteran author David Bloomberg, following extensive reading and research, has adhered faithfully to the chronology of the lives of the main protagonists, their personalities and the historical facts with which they were associated. Creative license has allowed Bloomberg to recreate appropriate scenes and dialogue, complemented by reported sources and recorded speeches.

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