Letters of life in District Six published in new book

Retired principal Abu Bakr Solomons launched his latest book.

Retired principal and Southfield resident Abu Bakr Solomons launched his book on Saturday September 2.

Mr Solomons said he compiled and edited Daughter of the District – Letters of a life lived mindfully written by the late Susan Johanna Jacobs Simons, who was his “dear friend for many years.”

Mr Solomons said he was inspired by Ms Simons to compile the book after he had asked her to write him a letter every month about the life she spent in District 6 as a child and young adult in the 1930s and 1940s.

“The letters were so endearing that I decided to publish it with Boeka Books, a new non-profit publishing initiative.

“I received 60 letters from Ms Simons and had to select those that were pertinent to the mission of the project.

Mr Solomons said the letters reflect “her awareness of the cohesive community life that existed in District 6 before people were forced to leave. Essentially the letters are about love – for community and family. And reveals an endearing sense of place.”

Pictured at the launch of the book Daughter of the District – Letters of a life lived mindfully, are Abu Bakr Solomons and Brenda Klue.

He said Ms Simons wrote letters to him over from 2001 to 2006, mostly while she lived with her daughter in Canada.

Mr Solomons said it took him two years to compile and edit the letters.

Arlene Klue, daughter of Brenda Klue, who attended the launch, said: “Thank you so much Abu, for your labour of love. I watched your launch on Saturday. I loved every word you spoke and look forward to reading grandma Susan’s book when we eventually get it and I love what you stand for and what you do. Once again thank you as an outsider to the family and only knowing them for the past eight years you put a lot into perspective on Saturday (at the launch). More work like this should be done – (there are) so many unsung heroes and stories out there.”

Pictured are the Simons family from Cape Town and others who attended the launch.

Sharon La Guma Williams, an ex-student of Mr Solomons, said: “The Simons family must be so proud of their mom to have penned her life and double grateful to you to have invested so much of your time and energy in the book . It holds an envelope of memories flown across many miles to depict a wonderful life living in District 6. This will be shared with many generations to come.”

The book can be purchased from Mr Solomons via email at abusolomons49@gmail.com at R150 a copy.