Impossible Return delves into the real stories of individuals and families who, in the early 1970s, were forced from their homes in Harfield Village in Cape Town's southern suburbs to make way for whites who today still occupy the area.
O'Connell said the effects of the Group Areas Act continued to plague coloured communities, and could be experienced across every sector of society.
Her book features the late curator David Brown's photographs of the Harfield community before and during the forced removals.
O'Connell had put out a public call for those featured in Brown's photographs to come forward and tell their stories and was inundated with people affected by the Group Areas Act. She spent nearly three years with the former residents, detailing their every emotion.
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