Port Elizabeth inspires Bosnian survivor to write novel


By Cindy Fisher
July 9, 2008
Port Elizabeth Express (South Africa)

South Africa and more specifically Port Elizabeth (PE), was the inspiration for author Savo Heleta to pen his painful childhood memories of the war in Bosnia.

During a semester spent at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in 2005, Savo became inspired to write Not My Turn to Die: Memoirs of a Broken Childhood in Bosnia, a novel which was launched recently at the Cape Town Book Fair.

The novel was released in the United States in April this year and it will be distributed in South Africa by McGraw-Hill at the end of June. 

Savo, who is currently back in PE studying towards a Masters Degree in conflict transformation and management at NMMU, said he had never told anyone about his experiences in Bosnia as a child but during the semester that he spent in PE, he opened up towards fellow American students who were doing an exchange-student course with him at NMMU.

Savo received a scholarship from The Whalen Family Foundation to study in the United States in 2002. At that time, he hardly spoke any English, but he graduated from Saint John's University in Minnesota in 2006, majoring in history and business management. 

"We came to visit NMMU as part of our Sub-Saharan History Course. We learnt about the TRC and when we got the choice to visit any country we wa