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In 1969, while a student at Wits University, John Schlapobersky was arrested for opposing apartheid and tortured, detained and eventually deported. Interrogated through sleep deprivation, he later wrote secretly in solitary confinement about the struggle for survival.
In this exquisitely written memoir, written half a century after the event, the author reflects on the singing of the condemned prisoners, the poetry, songs and texts that saw him through his ordeal, and its impact.
He transformed his life - guided by a sense of hope - working as a psychotherapist with a continuing focus on rehabilitation with others. Apartheid and its resistance come to life in this story to make it a vital historical document, one of its time and one for our own.
‘Wathint’ Abafazi, Wathint’ Imbokodo’ – You strike the women, you strike the rock.
From the construction of gender under apartheid South Africa, to the impact of the pass laws, this book examines how history has shaped the conditions of women today. The book contributes to and extends the narrative of gender issues beyond the women’s march of 1956, and highlights and celebrates the important ways in which women have organised and continue to work around these socio-economic issues.
When the Cradock Four's Fort Calata was murdered by agents of the apartheid state in 1985, his son Lukhanyo was only three years old. Thirty-one years later Lukhanyo, now a journalist, becomes one of the SABC Eight when he defies Hlaudi Motsoeneng's reign of censorship at the public broadcaster by writing an open letter that declares: "my father didn't die for this".
Now, with his wife Abigail, Lukhanyo brings to life the father he never knew and investigates the mystery that surrounds his death despite two high-profile inquests.
Join them in a poignant and inspiring journey into the history of a remarkable family that traces the struggle against apartheid beginning with Fort's grandfather, Rivonia trialist and ANC Secretary-General Rev James Calata.
Falling Monuments, Reluctant Ruins: The Persistence of the Past in the Architecture of Apartheid interrogates how, in the era of decolonisation, post-apartheid South Africa reckons with its past in order to shape its future. Architects, historians, artists, social anthropologists and urban planners seek answers in this book to complex and unsettling questions around heritage, ruins and remembrance.
What do we do with hollow memorials and political architectural remnants? Which should remain, which forgotten, and which dismantled? Are these vacant buildings, cemeteries, statues, and derelict grounds able to serve as inspiration in the fight against enduring racism and social neglect? Should they become exemplary as spaces for restitution and justice? The contributors examine the influence of public memory, planning and activism on such anguished places of oppression, resistance and defiance. Their focus on visible markers in the landscape to interrogate our past will make readers reconsider these spaces, looking at their landscape and history anew.
Through a series of 14 empirically grounded chapters and 48 images, the contributors seek to understand how architecture contests or subverts these persistent conditions in order to promote social justice, land reclamation and urban rehabilitation. The decades following the dismantling of apartheid are surveyed in light of contemporary heritage projects, where building ruins and abandoned spaces are challenged and renegotiated across the country to become sites of protest, inspiration and anger.
This ground-breaking collection is an important resource for professionals, academics and activists working in South Africa today.
Albertina Sisulu is revered by South Africans as the true mother of the nation. A survivor of the golden age of the African National Congress, whose life with the second most important figure in the ANC exemplified the underpinning role of women in the struggle against apartheid.
In 1944 she was the sole woman at the inaugural meeting of the radical offshoot of the ANC, the Youth League, with Walter Sisulu, Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo and Anton Lembede in the vanguard. Her final years were spent in an unpretentious house in the former white Johannesburg suburb of Linden. A friend said of her, "she treated everybody alike. But her main concern was the welfare of our women and children." This abridged account of Sisulu’s overflowing life provides a fresh understanding of an iconic figure of South African history.
This new abridged memoir is written by Sindiwe Magona, one of South Africa’s most prolific authors, and Elinor Sisulu, writer, activist and daughter-in-law of Albertina.
Patrick van Rensburg (1931-2017) was an anti-apartheid activist and self-made 'alternative educationist' whose work received international recognition with the Right Livelihood Award in 1981. Born in KwaZulu-Natal into what he described as a 'very ordinary South African family that believed in the virtue of racism', Van Rensburg became a self-styled rebel who tirelessly pursued his own vision of a brighter future for emerging societies in post-colonial southern Africa.
His emotional and intellectual struggle against his upbringing and cultural roots led him to reject his life of white privilege in South Africa. Determined to prevent the emergence of a privileged black elite in post-colonial society, he devoted his life to implementing an alternative, egalitarian approach to education, focusing on quality and functional schooling for the majority. Rewarded with the internationally prestigious Right Livelihood Award for his unique contribution to education, he saw this work as a 'necessary tool of development'.
Exiled from South Africa in 1960 because of his involvement in the London boycott campaign that gave birth to the Anti-Apartheid Movement, Van Rensburg moved to Botswana (then Bechuanaland). There he founded cooperatives, provided vocational training and was among the earliest educationists to espouse the discipline of development studies. Perhaps his best-known legacy is the Swaneng Hill School, which he founded to provide an educational home for primary school 'dropouts' through a curriculum that combined theory and practice, and academic and manual labour. He involved his pupils in building their school, running it, providing their own food, and making their own equipment and furniture.
Van Rensburg was an innovative and charismatic visionary who captured the zeitgeist of the late twentieth century, and whose work and vision still have resonance for debates in educational policy today.
In 2010, government spokesperson Themba Maseko was called to the Gupta family’s Saxonwold compound and asked by Ajay Gupta to divert the government’s entire advertising budget to the family’s media company. When Maseko refused to do so, he was removed from his position and forced to leave the public service. The life of this once-proud civil servant would never be the same again.
Maseko, whose activism was forged in the Soweto uprising of 1976, is a product of the struggle, and has always been unfailingly loyal to the principles of the ANC. In 2016, when the party called on members with evidence of wrongdoing by the Guptas to step forward, Maseko was the only one to do so. For this courageous act of whistleblowing, he was ostracised, slandered and even threatened.
As a former senior state official, with a distinguished record of public service, Maseko also offers a rare insider’s view of the presidencies of Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma and of the inner workings of government.
Compelling and revelatory, For My Country shows what it takes to stand up for one’s principles and defy the most powerful man in the country.
The death of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela on 2 April this year unleashed a hailstorm of opinion. On one side, Winnie's legacy was under construction by the media and public in the shadow of her sanctified ex-husband, casting Winnie as history's loser.
Msimang - who in the last few years has reflected extensively on Winnie Madikizela-Mandela - stood on the side of a younger generation, particularly of black women, who sought to reclaim Ma Winnie's identity as an extraordinary woman and fierce political activist. Examining that early impulse, Msimang has written a succinct, razor-sharp book. It is a primer for young feminists, popular culture enthusiasts and those interested in the politics of memory, reconciliation and justice, and a book that is as much about a woman as it is about the country she left behind.
The Resurrection of Winnie Mandela is an astute examination of one of South Africa's most controversial political figures. It charts the rise and fall - and rise, again - of a woman who not only battled the apartheid regime, but the patriarchal character of the society that moulded her. In telling Ma Winnie's story, Sisonke Msimang demonstrates the vital link between reclaiming the lives of one complex woman, and activism aimed at restoring the dignity of all women.
In August 2016, well-known South African businessman Herman Mashaba became mayor of Johannesburg, heading a razor-thin DA-led coalition in the city. Three years later, in October 2019, he resigned from the party and from his position as mayor. At the time, Mashaba’s approval rating stood at almost 70 per cent and there were calls in overwhelming numbers for him to stay. In this explosive tell-all, his chief of staff, Michael Beaumont, reveals the real story behind these events.
The Accidental Mayor considers the achievements, challenges and controversies of Mashaba’s time in office, and describes what went on behind the scenes in the city and in the multiparty coalition. What was discovered about the previous government’s looting of Johannesburg? How did the ANC take to being in opposition? How challenging was it to work with the EFF? Which party proved the most difficult coalition partner? All these questions and more are explored in detail.
At a time when the DA’s popularity is in decline, The Accidental Mayor highlights the infighting and factionalism within the party and questions whether South Africa’s official opposition has reached the end of the road. Can Herman Mashaba, arguably one of South Africa’s most popular former mayors, offer an alternative for the future?
Accessible and engaging short stories about Nelson Mandela, to celebrate 100 years since his birth.
How do you retell the well-worn life story of a national icon? One way is this: a palimpsest of a hundred memories of the great man, revolutionary, world leader, and family figure, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of his birth. Kate Sidley offers renewed and touching insight into Mandela by retelling humorous, heart-warming and momentous moments from his life, roughly chronologically, drawing from his own writing and the memories of contemporaries, historians and ordinary people. The reading experience is multi-varied and complex, touching and inspiring, like Madiba himself.
100 Mandela Moments is divided into sections, according to the many roles Mandela played in his lifetime: the school boy, the student, the lawyer, the outlaw, the prisoner, the negotiator, the statesman, the elder. Each story or “moment” is short and encapsulates something about the man behind the legend, and the book can be read cover to cover or dipped into.
Charles Abrahams is a world-class lawyer who sued multinationals for colluding with the apartheid government, but at twelve he was determined to become a world-famous heartsurgeon. Then a school inspector shattered his dream: coloured children from the Cape Flats 'should not aim too high'. Class Action is the story of how Charles aimed high anyway, despite a childhood that included forced removal, dire poverty and the deep sense of shame of being neither white nor a 'white coloured'. As one of eleven children in a poor family, he experienced constant hardship and family strife.
Violence was ubiquitous: his street was notorious for its gang fights, his father abused his mother at home, and schoolteachers beat darker-skinned children like him. Charles wanted a larger life, and he found it through student politics, anti-apartheid activism and reading. He studied relentlessly, finding not only formidable political weapons, but a means to delve into the damage apartheid had done to his personal identity, selfesteem, sexuality and morality. He went on to qualify as a lawyer and, after defending local gangsters, he sought to do good through human-rights and class-action law. He has since spearheaded some of South Africa’s most historic, groundbreaking lawsuits, pursuing justice for ordinary citizens whose lives were ruined by powers too profit-driven to ever think about them.
Class Action depicts a remarkable journey of resistance and healing in reaction to institutionalised greed and racism and the harm it has done to our identities, our relationships and the people of our country.
As a young underground cadre in 1980s Durban, Moe Shaik endured detention, following orders for the good of the organisation. Little did he know that this stint in the police cells would lead to his lifelong relationship with The Nightingale, a Special Branch policeman turned enemy secret agent whose files were so accurate, Oliver Tambo named them The Bible.
Shaik morphs from being a timid optometrist to leading a critical, high-tech intelligence operation, supplying information to the ANC top brass in exile and in South Africa. He becomes party to the secrets of both the state and ANC operatives.
This thrilling first-person account brings into sharp focus the role of Jacob Zuma, Shaik's brother Schabir and other players, and sheds new light on some of South Africa's most turbulent years.
Between 2013 and 2017, a team of researchers from the Human Sciences Research Council undertook a longitudinal qualitative study that tracked eighty students from eight diverse universities in South Africa and documented their experiences at these higher education institutions. Midway through the study, the student protests erupted and focused national attention on many of the stories we had already heard. In the subsequent years of the study, we also heard from students who were actively involved in these transformation struggles as well as those who sat on the side-lines.
Studying While Black is an intimate portrait of the many ways in which students in South Africa experience university, and the centrality of race and geography in their quest for education and ultimately emancipation. Students voices can be heard directly in a 45 minute documentary that accompanied this study entitled Ready or Not!: Black students’ experiences of South African universities – freely available on social media.
A great deal of the revolutionary work that Charles Nqakula undertook as an ANC underground cadre and combatant of Umkhonto we Sizwe was in the Eastern Cape. This book is a well-documented and detailed recollection of those difficult and dangerous times when detention, imprisonment, torture, and even death were always imminent.
It required massive courage and heroism to be part of that array of outstanding leaders and cadres of the revolutionary movements. Readers will be convinced that Charles and his wife/partner Nosiviwe were selfless, dedicated, loyal, disciplined, and brave freedom fighters. This book is noteworthy because Charles remembers, gives due credit, and attaches names to the many comrades who participated in that heroic struggle with him and Nosiviwe. It is difficult to understand and appreciate the dialectical interconnectedness of the individual and the collective. The collective is always more important than the individual but the collective is at the same time the sum total of the individual contributions. In this book, Charles successfully portrays that delicate and complex relationship.
The People’s War describes the work undertaken by Charles and Nosiviwe in the ANC underground and MK units in a dispassionate manner without any self-praise or grandstanding. Charles also recounts how Nosiviwe nearly lost her life in an ambush carried out by Unita on an MK convoy as well as an attempted assassination outside their home in Cyrildene. In the latter chapters of the book, Charles writes about political developments and processes from 1990 up to the present time. He recounts his work as a mediator in the conflicts in Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, and Mauritania, the pain and anguish at the tragic murder of their son, Chumani Siyavuya, and comments on the debilitating challenges of factionalism, election slates, and corruption degrading the integrity, unity, reputation, values, and electoral support of the ANC.
RW Johnson's bestselling book How Long Will South Africa Survive? was published at the height of the Zuma presidency. Since then, Cyril Ramaphosa has taken over as president and there have been some attempts to clean up government. But the brief period of 'Ramaphoria' is over and the threat to both the economy and the dream of a non-racial democracy is as real as ever.
As national elections loom, Johnson examines the state of the nation with pinpoint accuracy. On the one hand state-owned institutions are near collapse, municipalities are defunct and civil strife is rampant. On the other, Ramaphosa and his team have come up with a plan to curb corruption and create growth and prosperity.
But will it work?
The early years of Zimbabwe’s independence were blighted by conflict and bloodshed, culminating in the Gukurahundi massacres of 1983 and 1984. Historian Stuart Doran explores these events in unprecedented detail, drawing on thousands of previously unpublished documents, including classified records from Mugabe’s Central Intelligence Organisation, apartheid South Africa, the UK, USA, Australia and Canada.
This groundbreaking book charts the development of an intense rivalry between two nationalist parties – Mugabe’s Zanu and Nkomo’s Zapu – and reveals how Zanu’s victory in the 1980 elections was followed by a carefully orchestrated five-year plan, driven by Mugabe, which sought to smash all forms of political opposition and impose a one-party state. Doran shows not only what happened during Zimbabwe’s darkest chapter, but also why this cataclysm occurred. In an expansive narrative saturated with new findings, he documents a culture of political intolerance in which domination and subjugation became the only options, and traces the rise of key proponents of this supremacist ideology.
Kingdom, Power, Glory is the most comprehensive history of Zimbabwe’s formative years and is essential reading for anyone hoping to understand the Mugabe regime, then and now.
Do you call yourself a feminist? What does this mean in your daily life?
In this book, South African feminists explore their often vastly different experiences and perspectives in accessible and engaging voices. Feminism Is touches on issues as wide-ranging as motherhood, anger, sex, race, inclusions and exclusions, the noisy protest and the quiet struggle.
It will challenge your thinking and inspire you to action, reaffirming the urgent necessity of feminism in South Africa today.
Steve Biko was not only considered a `brilliant political theorist', but is also considered `a formidable and articulate philosopher'. However, Biko is not simply and merely a philosopher in the manner in which Immanuel Kant was a philosopher, but a philosopher of a special kind, an important Africana existential philosopher. In Biko: Philosophy, Identity & Liberation the author adds another commonly ignored perspective on Biko, namely the philosophical dimensions of Biko's thought.
From Biko's writings, speeches and interviews it is easy to notice that in his view, philosophy is not a disembodied system of ideas nor is it a mechanical reflection about the world; rather, it is a way of existing and acting. To be a philosopher, especially an Africana existential philosopher, is not just to hold certain views, it is a way of perceiving and a way of being in the world, what Biko himself describes as `a way of life'.
This important perspective on Biko would be of value to many Africana philosophers of existence, African philosophers, political and social thinkers, social scientists, psychologists, cultural critics, political activists, students, critical race theorists and anyone interested in the ideas that Biko presents.
A fresh, different perspective on South African politics.
Many common political arguments come pre-packaged in a very old and dusty box – and in this book, Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh sets out to dismantle that box. The self-evident truths are not so inarguable. He argues that free education is far from impossible, land reform is not the first step to chaos, and the media is not free…
In this incisive, informed book we find challenges to commonly held opinions and new solutions to old problems.
In 2012 Angy Peter was bringing up her young children with her husband, Isaac Mbadu, in Bardale, Mfuleni, on the Cape Flats.
Angy and Isaac were activists, leading the charge for a commission of inquiry into policing in Khayelitsha. Angy was vocally against vigilante violence and a go-to-person when demanding better services from the police.
But when the commission started its hearings Angy found herself instead on trial for murdering – necklacing – a young neighbourhood troublemaker, Rowan du Preez. The State’s case would centre on the accusation Rowan du Preez allegedly made with his dying breath – that Angy and her husband Isaac set the tyre alight around his neck.
Simone Haysom takes us into the heart of a mystery: was Angy Peter framed by the police for a murder she did not commit? Or was she, as the State argued, ‘a wolf in sheep’s clothing’, who won a young man’s trust then turned against him, in the most brutal way?
Simone Haysom spent four years meticulously researching this case and the result is a court-room drama interwoven with expert opinion and research into crime and the state of policing in the townships of South Africa.
Meet the rebels, artists, troublemakers, athletes, dancing queens and freedom fighters that shaped our past – and are changing our future.
An A To Z Of Amazing South African Women tells the stories of 26 trailblazing South African women through accessible stories and illustrations that are as bright and bold as the women they depict. From Fatima Meer to Caster Semenya, Natalie du Toit to Dope St Jude, this is a book about women who ask too many questions, who defy injustice, who refuse to take no for an answer. It is a celebration of the courage and determination of the activists, scientists and storytellers who have gone before us – as well as a recognition of the everyday heroism of ordinary South African woman doing extraordinary things.
The book takes its inspiration from the worldwide bestseller An A To Z Of Rad American Women and is the work of writer Ambre Nicolson and illustrator Jaxon Hsu, a husband and wife team based in Cape Town.
It is well known that the African National Congress was formed in 1912 and is considered the oldest political organisation on the African continent. What is often not widely known is that the person who founded it was one Pixley ka Isaka Seme, a thirty-year-old black South African from Inanda outside the city of Durban.
What is remarkable about Seme’s achievement in founding the ANC is not only that he succeeded where most had failed at forging black political unity. It is also the speed at which he did it. He had just returned to South Africa from the United Kingdom and the United States of America, where he had been a student since he was a teenager. In slightly over a year the founding conference of the ANC was convened and he was at its helm as the main organiser.
Seme also established a national newspaper, became one of the pioneering black lawyers in South Africa, bought land from white farmers for black settlement right at the time when opposition to it was gaining momentum, became a sought-after adviser and confidant to African royalty, and was considered a leading visionary for black economic empowerment. And yet, when he became president general of the ANC in the 1930s, he brought it to its knees through sheer ineptitude and an authoritarian style of leadership. On more than one occasion he was found guilty for breaching the law, which partly led to him being struck off the roll of attorneys.
This book discusses in detail Seme’s extraordinary life, from his humble beginnings at Inanda Mission to his triumphs and disappointments across the continents, in his public and private life. When Seme died in 1951 he was bankrupt and his political standing had suffered greatly. And yet he was praised as one of the greatest South Africans ever to have lived. For all this, he has largely been forgotten. This biography brings the remarkable life of this extraordinary South African back to public consciousness.
Herman Mashaba rose from humble beginnings to become one of South Africa’s wealthiest and best-known entrepreneurs, as well as Mayor of Johannesburg.
His remarkable story begins in a small village in Gauteng, where we meet the cocky youngster who refused to settle for a future that offered nothing. Forced to drop out of university, the determined young man fought to establish the first black-owned haircare company in South Africa. Mashaba struggled every day of his life – against apartheid, with its demeaning laws, and against his competitors to grab market share for his business. In the process, Mashaba learnt lessons that few business schools teach today.
This is a story of survival, and of determination in adversity. It is also a love story between Herman and Connie, his wife of 35 years, who embarked on this journey together. Mashaba shows the importance of having a vision, daring to dream it, and then making it happen. This inspiring book will leave you with the question: “If he did it, why can’t I?”
An unfettered call to anti-racist action by the activist, political commentator and public speaker, Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu.
This book is the hard conversation we must have.
In 2020 we have seen clearer than ever that Black people are still fighting for the right to be judged by the content of their character and not the colour of their skin. In the words of the author, "there is no freedom without rights and no rights without the freedom to exercise those rights."
This book demands change, because black people are done waiting.
In This Is Why I Resist activist and political commentator, Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu digs down into the deep roots of racism and anti-blackness in the UK and the US. Using real life examples from the modern day, Dr Shola shows us the different forms racism takes in our day-to-day lives and asks us to raise our voice to end the oppression. She delves into subjects not often explored such as racial gatekeepers, white ingratitude, performative allyship (those black squares on Instagram), current identity politics and abuse of the Black trans community.
Where Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race and Me and White Supremacy take White people by the hand to help them negotiate issues of race, This Is Why I Resist offers no such comfort, but instead asks WHEN will we progress, because Black Lives Matter and we need change.
It's time for a conscious revolution.
Without much fanfare Ahmed Kathrada worked alongside Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and other giants in the struggle to end racial discrimination in South Africa. He faced house arrest and many court trials related to his activism until, finally, a trial for sabotage saw him sentenced to life imprisonment alongside Mandela and six others.
Conversations with a Gentle Soul has its origins in a series of discussions between Kathrada and Sahm Venter about his opinions, encounters and experiences. Throughout his life, Kathrada has refused to hang on to negative emotions such as hatred and bitterness. Instead, he radiates contentment and the openness of a man at peace with himself. His wisdom is packaged within layers of optimism, mischievousness and humour, and he provides insights that are of value to all South Africans.
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