Coded History: My Life of New Beginnings
In 1987 Barry Dwolatzky found himself unexpectedly lying in a hospital bed in London more concerned about the contents of his briefcase than the prospect of his life ending in a few months. The mystery of the briefcase's contents and his presence far from South Africa forms the pivot of his story. He tells of a life that began in a middle class white suburb in Johannesburg in the 1950s and the journey that has brought him to his current eminance as Emeritus Professor of Software Engineering at Wits University. The story of Barry’s less than ordinary life is proof of the adage never judge a book by its cover. His coded history is complex yet simple, curious yet obvious and proof that a life well lived is both inspirational and worth sharing. NOTE: Courier costs charged for orders outside South Africa
On Dec 23 1987 Barry Dwolatzky was told he had hairy cell leukaemia and less than a year to live.
Luckily he survived the dire prediction and in 2020 used the enforced quiet of COVID to write the absorbing story about how he found himself unexpectedly lying in a hospital bed in London more concerned about the contents of his briefcase stashed under his bed than the prospect of his life ending in a few months. The mystery of the briefcase’s contents and his presence far from South Africa forms the pivot of much of his story.
It begins in a conventional middle class white suburb in Johannesburg in the 1950s as a bullied but clever outsider and stretches through to his eminence as Emeritus Professor for Software Engineering at Wits University and founder of the Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct. His path is deceptively ordinary but the evolution of his personal commitment to social and economic justice and the consequences for his life choices were anything but ordinary. His opposition to Apartheid shaped and distanced him from his professional and much of his personal world. Supporting the ANC and seeking active service in social projects in Mozambique his life took unexpected turns which in hindsight have symmetry but at the time appeared bewildering. Barry’s personal choices were not easy nor simple but his commitment to South Africa and the ending of Apartheid was profound.
Told with the sensitivity and self-deprecating voice of someone discovering his place in what became the Fourth Industrial Evolution, Barry shares his vulnerability and delight in finding the world of IT and discovering his ability to teach while pursuing his own commitment to political change.
The story of Barry’s less than ordinary life is proof of the adage never judge a book by its cover. His coded history is complex yet simple, curious yet obvious and proof that a life well lived is both inspirational and worth sharing.
NOTE: Courier costs charged for orders outside South Africa
6 x 9
Just as he is about to undertake a risky mission from London for the underground ANC, the author is dealt a cruel blow from an unexpected quarter. This fascinating account of an innovative scientist's life journey, with dramatic twists and turns, reflects an abiding commitment to make his country and the world a better place. The fight against the odds prevails, and reflects the ideals and integrity of a very brave human being. This is a book that lifts the spirits.
Ronnie Kasrils - Liberation struggle, government minister, author
This is a book that lifts the spirits
This memoir provides insight into what started out as an ordinary white middle-class South African life, but turned out to be quite exceptional. Dwolatzky has been living through momentous changes in the country, and helped to bring them about. His intellectual ability, combined with moral integrity and social commitment took him into the forefront of those changes in our times. His narration is realistic about what has been achieved, as well as personally humble and humorous. It is an interesting, enriching and inspiring read