The Lost Boys of Bird Island – Mark Minnie & Chris Steyn

21st September 2018

The Lost Boys of Bird Island – Mark Minnie & Chris Steyn

It is the late 1980s. Serious allegations surface against three prominent National Party cabinet ministers, one of them the second‐most powerful man in the land.

They are, it is said, regularly abusing young boys on an island just off the coast of Port Elizabeth. From opposite ends of South Africa, a brave cop and a driven journalist investigate.

Mark Minnie and Chris Steyn independently uncover evidence of a dark secret.

But the case only surfaces briefly before it disappears completely. Thirty years later, the two finally connect the dots to expose this shocking story of criminality, cover‐ups and official complicity in the rape and possible murder of children, most of them vulnerable and black.


The late Mark Minnie was a former policeman who worked as a detective in the narcotics branch of the SA Police Force in the 1980s. After leaving South Africa in 2007, he acquired a teaching certificate through Cambridge University in London and moved to China where he worked as English examiner and teacher. He was passionate about his work, as a policeman, teacher and writer.

Chris Steyn is an investigative writer and journalist. Over the years, she has worked for the Rand Daily Mail, The Star and the Cape Times. She was editor of the investigative unit of sixteen newspapers in the Independent Newspapers group. In her first book, Publish and be Damned, she writes about the dramatic stories behind some of the major political and criminal scandals she uncovered. Some people were so outraged by what she wrote that they came after her with guns and knives. Death threats were a ‘normal’ part of her job. She went into exile to avoid imprisonment for refusing to testify against a source. She was arrested and tried for protesting against an Apartheid government proclamation that drastically curtailed press freedom. Her time away from the keyboard was spent on horseback and on the fencing piste.  She is the proud owner of a bookshop in Hermanus, the seaside village that she now calls home. 

The Lost Boys of Bird Island is published by NB Publishers