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Agent 407: A South African Spy Breaks Her Silence

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“I owe it to many people, and to myself, to set the record straight. There have been many versions of parts of the story in the press over the years, many lies overlaid with truths and truths overlaid with lies. Much of the truth is just a palimpsest, an echo that changes even in the act of repeating it, but this is my story.”

In the dying years of apartheid, a most extraordinary story hit the headlines. Agent Olivia Forsyth had escaped from ANC imprisonment in Angola. Upon her return home she was feted as a hero by the government. In a flurry of media appearances and press releases, Forsyth claimed to have infiltrated the ANC and passed on vital information.

Is that what really happened? In the world of espionage, truth is the first victim and nothing is as it seems. Here, for the first time and in her own words, South Africa’s most notorious female spy during apartheid lays bare the story of her life.

Olivia Forsyth was also known as agent RS407, codename Lara, lieutenant in the Security Branch of the South Africa Police, ANC comrade Helen Bronson, prisoner Thandeka, alias Christine Smith.

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