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Shunna Pillay tells this story of South Africa’s 1950s with a deep sympathy for all those human beings in the world who yearn for freedom, liberty and the right to enjoy life on this earth. This is a brilliant tale told with the lack of fear that finally drove Shunna out of his country of birth.

—Hugh Masekela

Book information

ISBN: 978-1-919855-68-4

Trim size: 230 x 150mm

Binding: paperback

Page count: 304 pages

Cost: R275.00

Genre: Biography



Dhava Aiengar is a young pianist with brilliant prospects, but he has one problem: he is an ‘Indian’ in apartheid South Africa. He is not allowed to travel and work where he likes or love whom he likes, and he spends most of his time dodging the police, Zulu rioters, Indian gangs and white thugs. Driven by a passion for music, Dhava, along with his friends, Claude Tshinkalange and Micah Bernhardt, defies everything apartheid stands for. They live life to the full, achieving acclaim and adoration from the townships to the most exclusive whites-only clubs… until the sinister machinery of apartheid starts to turn against them.

Written by one of music’s most promising stars, Shadow People provides a unique and authentic portrait of Durban, Cape Town’s District Six and Johannesburg’s Sophiatown in the 1950s.


Shunna Pillay

Shunna Pillay sang in Alfred Herbert’s African Jazz and Variety alongside such luminaries as Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba and Dorothy Masuka. He lives in New York City and Connecticut.