Absorbing, beautiful story of enduring love

Love in the Time of Treason is undoubtedly the most beautiful love story I have read.

It reads like a romance novel even though every word of it is true. At the centre is Ayesha Dawood and the two men in her life.

One is Nelson Mandela, whom she met in her home town of Worcester while fighting against the oppressive apartheid laws. Though their first encounter was brief, he made a lasting impression on her.

He would remain an inspiration throughout her lengthy periods in prison for defying apartheid laws and during the Treason Trial.

It was shortly after the Treason Trial that she married Yusuf Makadam, whom she had met years earlier in India during a visit to her grandmother.

It was love at first sight for Makadam. He was intrigued by the beautiful Dawood, who had travelled to India alone, and though a Muslim, did not wear a head scarf.

But it would be many years and trials before they could meet again. Determined to marry Dawood, though he did not know how she felt about him, Makadam joined the navy as a chef and spent years on ships travelling the world.

This was despite being warned by family and friends that her political activism would bring him nothing but strife. They eventually married in 1961 after he had jumped ship during a brief stop in Durban.

This heralded the beginning of an unwavering and endearing marriage tested by political turmoil. Makadam, who was constantly harassed by the police, was arrested as an illegal immigrant. After refusing to divulge information that would implicate his wife and her comrades, the couple and their children were forced into exile in India.

Like many others who were exiled, they returned to South Africa after Mandela's release from prison, signalling the realisation of a freedom that she had sacrificed so much for. Love in theTimeof Treason is an absorbing, beautifully written and satisfying read.