Kevin Bloom Tells Mark Medley Why He Chooses to Stay
In Ways of Staying, Kevin Bloom struggles with a question many South Africans ask on a daily basis: “Should I stay, and if so, how?”.
“That’s the subject of this book,” says Bloom. “And hopefully I explained in 80,000 words why it’s worth bothering. I can’t give it to you in a sentence, except to say that I’m a South African.”
Mark Medley chats to the author about his book, born out of a passionate love for his country. Ways of Staying is a finalist for The Sunday Times Alan Paton Award for non-fiction.
As he tells the story, Kevin Bloom’s voice rises in anger. For the past nine years, he says, his father’s friend has run a children’s clinic in Alexandra, one of South Africa’s poorest townships. “It consumes his life,” Bloom says. “But it just seems, sometimes, like such a futile battle.” Case in point: last October, one of the clinic’s interns, a 24-year-old psychology student named Bianca Warburton, was murdered while driving home from work in a carjacking gone horribly wrong.
“They just f–ing shot her,” he says, shaking his head. “She was a white girl in a car and that was it, man. Dead. Bang. And it’s because she was white in Alexandra. But she was white in Alexandra because she was trying to give back. And she got shot. This is the painful paradox of the country.”
- Ways of Staying by Kevin Bloom
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Photo courtesy Victor Dlamini