Agent 407, Olivia Forsyth breaks the silence of her days as an apartheid spy

Agent Forsyth, known to many as a gladiator has written a memoir which she describes as her act of contrition as well as her attempt to set the record straight and counter the many half-truths and lies printed about her.

In the book she gives details of how she found herself on her way to meet spy master Craig Williamson, at the headquarters of the Security Branch.

However, her book received mixed reactions from those who have read it, mostly of betrayal.

Why Olivia wrote the book

I felt I owed it to the right people and myself to get the right story out there. The story people were left with after 1989 was the story that painted me as this great apartheid spy and it didn’t tell the rest of my story

Olivia Forsyth, Apartheid spy and author

Forsyth told CapeTalk/702's Redi Tlhabi that she wanted people to know exactly what happened even before she left for the UK. She says it has taken her 15 years to finally sit down and write the book and she feels the timing is proper now that her children are old enough to understand.

She further said that she wrote her book as an act of contrition and her way of apologising to all she wronged by being an apartheid spy.

What exactly happened?

Looking back, I am still astounded at how naïve and cocooned I was even at the age of 21

Olivia Forsyth, Apartheid spy and author

Forsyth’s involvement with national intelligence started when she began working for Foreign Affairs at the age of 21. She wanted the life of adventure, she says

So the chap I spoke to said to me ‘have you ever considered working for national intelligence’ and I asked what they do, he said ‘we send people overseas to collect information’

Olivia Forsyth, Apartheid spy and author

According to Forsyth she did what she did because she was ignorant and naïve and knew absolutely nothing about South African politics until she was sent to Rhodes University.

She says she started knowing all things about South Africa, the apartheid struggle, the terrible things the apartheid government did and the history of the ANC when she got politicized by Nusas.

But even then she did not stop being a spy.

I am not excusing myself for the decisions I made. You make the decisions, you have to live with the consequences

Olivia Forsyth, Apartheid spy and author

She Told Redi Tlhabi that she wasnt passing information that could be used to destroy organisations to her handler.

Is Forsyth really sorry for her actions?

What should have been her greatest triumph as a spy turned into disaster when the ANC threw Forsyth into Quatro, the notorious internment camp in Angola.

Forsyth believes she has paid her dues by joining the ANC and spending seven and half months in Quatro prison.

I tried to make things right by offering my services to the ANC in Harare

Olivia Forsyth, Apartheid spy and author

Below are some of the twitter reactions to Forsyth memoir:

Listen to the full conversion and some of the fascinating calls Forsyth received from former colleagues at Rhodes:


This article first appeared on 702 : Agent 407, Olivia Forsyth breaks the silence of her days as an apartheid spy


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