Innocent Superspy: Contradictory Narratives as Exculpation in a Woman Apartheid Perpetrator Story

  • Robyn Bloch


Bloch investigates woman apartheid spy Olivia Forsyth and how she represents herself in her autobiography Agent 407: A South African Spy Breaks her Silence (2015). Considering the difference between what Forsyth actually did as an apartheid spy and the stories Forsyth tells, Bloch suggests that Forsyth’s book reads like a spy novel. Forsyth uses two contradictory narratives. First, she represents herself as a superspy, and in so doing, becomes a deviant, queering woman figure. At the same time, she insists she is an innocent, sexually passive woman. These narratives are geared towards systematically exculpating Forsyth for her role in the apartheid regime. The chapter concludes with the argument that empathetic feelings for unrepentant perpetrators should include negative ones, such as hate.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robyn Bloch
    • 1
  1. 1.Wits Institute for Social and Economic ResearchUniversity of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations