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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?”
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.
John Kane-Berman is uniquely qualified to look back over the enormous political and social changes that have taken place in his lifetime in this fractious country. In his career as student leader, Rhodes Scholar, newspaperman, independent columnist, speech maker, commentator, and Chief Executive, for thirty years, of the South African Institute of Race Relations, Kane-Berman has been at the coal face of political change in South Africa.
The breadth and depth of ideas and events covered here are striking: the disintegration of apartheid, the chaos of the ‘people’s war’ and its contribution to the broader societal breakdown we see today, the liberal slide-away, the authoritarian ANC with its racial ideology and revolutionary goals, to mention only a few. Kane-Berman’s willingness to confront received wisdom is thoroughly refreshing, and he is forthright about the threats to freedom, democracy, and growth in contemporary South Africa, many of which he identified even before the ANC came to power.
Writing, debate, and reasoned argument have been Kane-Berman’s stock in trade and his clarity of vision and personal insight have created a memoir of rare candour and absorbing interest.
At just 17, Fatima Meer threw herself into resisting racism, her first public act of defiance in a long and pioneering political life. Despite assassination attempts, she persevered on the courageous path she had chosen.
In this intimate memoir, Fatima Meer shares her story of growing up and of love, joy, longing and loss. As Meer open-heartedly reflects on her regrets as well as her triumphs, an enchanting tale emerges of a rebellious, revolutionary woman who never shied away from the truth.
‘Highly readable and packed with fascinating historical detail, this is
the compelling story of a ripsnorting South African cricketer whose
career was smothered by the shameless colour prejudice of Cecil John
Rhodes and his snobbish cronies. By turns formidable, sad, enlivening
and enormously informative, this book pays Hendricks the honour that
has long been his due.’ – Bill Nasson
'Let me say to Mr Botha: apartheid is doomed! It has been condemned in the Councils of God, rejected by every nation on the planet and is no longer believed in by the people who gave it birth. Apartheid is the god that has failed.' So preached Bishop Peter Storey in 1986. Challenging apartheid wherever he could, he led the SA Methodist Church into what many whites saw as uncomfortable 'political' territory.
Join him in his inspiring journey from sailor-turned-minister to the South African Council of Churches leadership in its darkest hour, from tending to Robert Sobukwe and Nelson Mandela on Robben Island, through the forced removals of District Six and the storm surrounding Stompie Seipei's murder. I Beg to Differ spans a parish minister’s sorrows and joys, founding Life Line SA, the bombing of Khotso House and a close shave with death with Desmond Tutu. Storey shares the convictions that inspired him to minister amid the teargas, violence and intimidation of the apartheid regime.
This stirring collection of essays and talks by activist and former judge Albie Sachs is the culmination of more than 25 years of thought about constitution-making and non-racialism. Following the Constitutional Court's landmark Nkandla ruling in March 2016, it serves as a powerful reminder of the tenets of the Constitution, the rule of law and the continuous struggle to uphold democratic rights and freedoms. We, The People offers an intimate insider's view of South Africa's Constitution by a writer who has been deeply entrenched in its historical journey from the depths of apartheid right up to the politically contested present.
As a second-year law student at the University of Cape Town, Sachs took part in the Defiance Campaign and went on to attend the Congress of the People in Kliptown, where the Freedom Charter was adopted in 1955. Three decades later, shortly after the bomb attack in Maputo that cost him his arm and the sight in one eye, he was called on by the Constitutional Committee of the African National Congress to co-draft (with Kader Asmal) the first outline of a Bill of Rights for a new democratic South Africa. In 1994, he was appointed by Nelson Mandela to the Constitutional Court, where he served as a judge until 2009. We, The People contains some of Sachs' most memorable public talks and writings, in which he takes us back to the broad-based popular foundations of the Constitution in the Freedom Charter. He picks up on Oliver Tambo's original vision of a non-racial future for South Africa, rather than one based on institutionalised power-sharing between the races. He explores the tension between perfectability and corruptibility, hope and mistrust, which lies at the centre of all constitutions.
Sachs discusses the enforcement of social and economic rights, and contemplates the building of the Constitutional Court in the heart of the Old Fort Prison as a mechanism for reconciling the past and the future. Subjective experience and objective analysis interact powerfully in a personalised narrative that reasserts the value of constitutionality not just for South Africans, but for people striving to advance human dignity, equality and freedom across the world today.
Jan Christiaan Smuts was ’n soldaat, staatsman, intellektueel en een van Suid-Afrika se grootste leiers. Tog word daar vandag min oor hom gepraat of geskryf, al beleef ons tans skynbaar ’n leierskapsvakuum.
In Jan Smuts: Afrikaner Sonder Grense voer Richard Steyn aan dat ons hierdie indrukwekkende kryger-staatsman se lewe en denke moet herbesoek, omdat daar soveel te leer is uit sy merkwaardige prestasies. Die hoogs leesbare verslag ondersoek onder meer Smuts se rol as politieke leier, as adviseur van węreldleiers, sy spirituele en intellektuele lewe en sy verhoudings met vroue. Sy unieke bydraes op ŉ verskeidenheid ander terreine, insluitend botanie, bewaring en filosofie, word ook bespreek.
Jan Smuts: Afrikaner Sonder Grense skram egter nie weg van die paradoksale in Smuts nie. Hoewel hy een van die argitekte van die Verenigde Nasies en ŉ groot kampvegter vir menseregte was, kon hy nie so ver kom om die plaaslike swart meerderheid politieke regte te gun nie.
Internationally-renowned historian Hermann Giliomee has himself been intimately involved in the unfolding drama of South Africa’s history, as participant at the Dakar talks with the ANC, as outspoken commentator for the English press, and as leading thinker on the Afrikaners. Giliomee’s lucidity and original insights make this more than just his own story. It is also a gripping narrative, filled with anecdotes and revealing inner workings of the Afrikaner establishment.
As uitgesproke kommenatator wat voor en na 1994 met die regering gebots het, een van die Dakar-gangers wat al in die 1980s die ANC gaan ontmoet het en wereldkenner van die Afrikaners, is Giliomee ten nouste betrokke by ons land se geskiedenis – en hoe ons dit verstaan. Hier verweef hy sy eie lewensverhaal met die van die land en die mense wat hom fassineer in leesbare, narratiewe vorm, vol staaltjies en onvertelde verhale.
#FeesMustFall, the student revolt that began in October 2015, was an uprising against lack of access to, and financial exclusion from, higher education in South Africa. More broadly, it radically questioned the socio-political dispensation resulting from the 1994 social pact between big business, the ruling elite and the liberation movement.
The 2015 revolt links to national and international youth struggles of the recent past and is informed by Black Consciousness politics and social movements of the international Left. Yet, its objectives are more complex than those of earlier struggles. The student movement has challenged the hierarchical, top-down leadership system of university management and it’s ‘double speak’ of professing to act in workers’ and students’ interests yet enforce a regressive system for control and governance. University managements, while one one level amenable to change, have also co-opted students into their ranks to create co-responsibility for the highly bureaucratised university financial aid that stand in the way of their social revolution.
This book maps the contours of student discontent a year after the start of the #FeesMustFall revolt. Student voices dissect coloniality, improper compromises by the founders of democratic South Africa, feminism, worker rights and meaningful education. In-depth assessments by prominent scholars reflect on the complexities of student activism, its impact on national and university governance, and offer provocative analyses of the power of the revolt.
Their love story was one of the greatest of our times.
Ruth Williams was a middle-class Londoner who loved ballroom dancing and ice skating when she met Seretse Khama. He was chief designate of the most powerful tribe in Bechuanaland, today Botswana, on the borders of apartheid South Africa. Their union sparked outrage, fear and anger. Ruth’s father barred her from their family home, she was hounded by the global media and shunned by white people in Seretse’s village of Serowe. The couple was humiliated, tricked and eventually exiled to England. But, despite all these tribulations, their love triumphed over the politics and prejudice of the time.
This is the story Ruth Khama told well-known journalist and author Sue Grant-Marshall ‒ the story of an extraordinary woman, who had the courage of her convictions in marrying the man she loved and accepting his country and people as her own.
In this fresh and highly readable collection of South African biographical essays, a distinguished group of authors illuminates the lives of eleven colourful, complex men and women whose personal experiences throw fascinating light on the times in which they lived.
The individuals whose stories are told here are very different in time, in place and in work and at play, but are united by an abundantly rich humanity and the myriad ways in which they navigated their existence through the uneven terrain of South Africa's distant and more recent past. Including colonial administrators, activists, educationists, sportsmen, a poet, a painter and a pilot, Illuminating Lives is a wide-ranging and moving book that provides readers with striking and unexpected insights into our history.
Here are some intriguing South African lives well worth knowing about.
The demise of apartheid was one of the great achievements of postwar history, sought after and celebrated by a progressive global community. Looking at these events from the other side, An African Volk explores how the apartheid state strove to maintain power as the world of white empire gave way to a post-colonial environment that repudiated racial hierarchy.
Drawing upon archival research across Southern Africa and beyond, as well as interviews with leaders of the apartheid order, Jamie Miller shows how the white power structure attempted to turn the new political climate to its advantage. Instead of simply resisting decolonization and African nationalism in the name of white supremacy, the regime looked to co-opt and invert the norms of the new global era to promote a fresh ideological basis for its rule. It adapted discourses of nativist identity, African anti-colonialism, economic development, anti-communism, and state sovereignty to rearticulate what it meant to be African. An African Volk details both the global and local repercussions.
At the dawn of the 1970s, the apartheid state reached out eagerly to independent Africa in an effort to reject the mantle of colonialism and redefine the white polity as a full part of the post-colonial world. This outreach both reflected and fuelled heated debates within white society, exposing a deeply divided polity in the midst of profound economic, cultural, and social change. Situated at the nexus of African, decolonization, and Cold War history, An African Volk takes readers into the corridors of white power to detail the apartheid regime's campaign to break out of isolation and secure global acceptance.
A fresh, nuanced look at an extraordinary woman and her lifelong fight for justice. Defying the constraints of her gender and class, Emily Hobhouse travelled across continents and spoke out against oppression. A passionate pacifist and a feminist, she opposed both the 1899-1902 Anglo-Boer War and World War One, leading to accusations of treason. Elsabe Brits travelled in her footsteps to bring to life a colourful story of war, heroism and passion, spanning three continents.
On a freezing winter's night, a few hours before dawn on 12 May 1969, security police stormed the Soweto home of Winnie Mandela and detained her in the presence of her two young daughters, then aged eight and ten. Rounded up in a group of other anti-apartheid activists under Section 6 of the Terrorism Act, designed for the security police to hold and interrogate people for as long as they wanted, she was taken away. This was the start for Winnie Mandela of a 491-day period of detention and two trials. Forty-one years after her release on 14 September 1970, Greta Soggot, the widow of David Soggot, one of Winnie Mandela's advocates during the 1969/1970 trials, handed her a stack of papers that included a journal and notes that she had written in detention. 491 Days: Prisoner number 1323/69 shares with the world Winnie Mandela's moving and compelling journal as well as some of the letters written between affected parties at the time. Readers gain insight into the brutality she experienced, her depths of despair as well as her resilience and defiance under extreme pressure.
As kampvegter vir vrouestemreg en in haar uitgesproke teenkanting teen onreg is Emily Hobhouse ’n ikoon wat vandag nog inspireer. Ontdek die onbekende sy van ’n verbasend moderne vrou in hierdie volkleur pragboek propvol foto’s, interessante dagboekinskrywings en briewe. So gee sy ’n genuanseerde, vars blik op ’n buitengewone vrou wat voortdurend in die spervuur was. Van kleintyd het Emily haar verset teen haar lot. Vir vroue was daar min geleenthede en sy moes boonop haar siek pa oppas. Tog raak sy wereldwyd betrokke by die stryd teen onreg en oorlog. In twee oorloe het sy duisende lewens gered, en tog is sy – ’n ware patriot – in haar eie land onbekend en alleen dood.
Wilfrid Cooper was a rare man during the dark days of apartheid: an advocate whose career coincided almost perfectly with the rise and fall of the Nationalist government, intersecting eerily with that of its “architect” HF Verwoerd, and yet a man whose enlightened principles and liberal thinking saw him regularly defending those less fortunate.
His storied legal career saw him embroiled in numerous political affairs throughout the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s. He represented, among others, Verwoerd’s assassin Dimitri Tsafendas; the SWAPO Six in Swakopmund; the families of Imam Abdullah Haron, Mapetla Mohapi and Hoossen Haffajee and others who died “jumping down stairwells while in detention” or hanged by their own jeans in their cells; and Steven Biko and other activists who were arrested by the security police in the dead of night. There were also the highprofile criminal cases, including the original Kebble-style “assisted suicide” of Baron Dieter van Schauroth and the scandalous case of the Scissors Murderess Marlene Lehnberg.
Wilfrid Cooper reached the peak of his considerable legal prowess in a time when South Africans led a parallel existence, the majority downtrodden while white privilege reigned serenely in the suburbs – a time that could have easily provided him a less controversial career had he desired. And yet even as he and his gregarious wife Gertrude enjoyed wonderful and very sociable years in their Newlands home in Cape Town – an area that was itself remodelled under the Group Areas Act – he chose to walk the path less taken in the shadow of Devil’s Peak. This is his story.
Advocate Thuli Madonsela has achieved in her seven years as Public Protector what few accomplish in a lifetime; her legacy and contribution cannot be over-stated. In her final days in office she compiled the explosive State Capture report and, before that, the report on President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla residence. Praised and vilified in equal measures, Madonsela has frequently found herself at centre stage in the increasingly fractious South African political scene.
No Longer Whispering To Power is about Thuli Madonsela’s tenure as Public Protector, during which the whisper grew into a cry. It is the story of the South African people’s attempt to hold power to account through the Office of the Public Protector. More significantly, this important book stands as a record of the crucial work Madonsela has done, always acting without fear or favour.
I Write What I Like features the writing of the famous activist and Black Consciousness leader, Steve Biko. Before his untimely death in detention at age 30, he was instrumental in uniting Black Africans in the struggle against the apartheid government in South Africa.
This 40th anniversary edition includes a foreword by Njabulo S. Ndebele, personal reflections on Steve Biko and Black Consciousness, as well as Biko’s first known published piece of writing. In addition, it features all the material of the original Picador Africa edition: a collection of Biko’s columns entitled I Write What I Like published in the journal of the South Africa Student Organisation under the pseudonym of ‘Frank Talk’; other journal articles, interviews and letters written by Steve Biko at the time; an Introduction by Nkosinathi Biko; a preface by Archbishop Desmond Tutu; and a moving memoir by Father Aelred Stubbs, which pays tribute to the courage and power of this young leader, who was to become one of Africa’s heroes.
"For a couple of months in the near perfect summer of 1990/1991, Jacob Zuma came to stay in my house in Norwood, Johannesburg… Twenty five years later, my former house guest has all but morally bankrupted Nelson Mandela's ruling African National Congress. President Zuma's vision-free leadership, corrupt personal behaviour and attempts to use his political power to distort the judicial system render him no better than Italy's corrupt bunga-bunga partying ex-prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi."
So begins God, Spies And Lies, the most explosive insider’s account since Mandela came to power, a never-before-seen insider’s account of how South Africa got here -- and how things went wrong. It takes you into the room with Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki, into the Oval Office of the US President and the British Prime Minister’s Chequers country estate, as the fate of southern Africa was being set before and after 1994.
Among its revelations are:
John Matisonn has had a bird’s eye view of South Africa’s progress through apartheid and democracy. As a political correspondent, foreign correspondent and one of the pioneers of democratic South Africa’s free broadcasting environment, he interacted with every ANC leader since Oliver Tambo and every government leader from John Vorster to Jacob Zuma. Now for the first time this seasoned and erudite insider reveals the secrets of a 40 year career observing the politicians, their spies and the journalists who wrote about them. As a patriot, he argues that the way to a better future can be found through an unvarnished examination of the past.
The 1976 Soweto uprising represented a real turning point in South Africa's history. Even to contemporaries it seemed to mark the beginning of the end of apartheid. It also brought into the political equation the role of youth, who were to play a vital role in the township revolts of the 1980s.
What commenced as a peaceful and coordinated demonstration rapidly turned into a violent protest when police opened fire on students. Orlando West, the centre of the confrontation on the day, was transformed into a space of political contestation. For the first time, students claimed the streets and schools as their own. Soweto parents were shocked by these events, revealing an important generational divide. Thereafter, forging student and parent unity became a central objective of the liberation movement.
This short history brings alive the sequence of events and delves into the significance the uprising had on South African politics.
Successful businessman, Mkhuseli Khusta Jack, overcame incredible odds after being evicted from his farm home at the age of 6 with his 8 siblings. Desperate for schooling, he walked for kilometres, slept in outbuildings, begged for an education and eventually enrolled at the age of 10. But the political climate was volatile and he quickly became involved in politics.
As an activist, he was arrested on several occasions, most notably during the 1980 school boycotts. He helped establish the PE Youth Congress, one of the many organisations that joined the UDF. Jack was instrumental in organising the consumer boycott campaign (EC). He was arrested, jailed and tortured for his role in the movement. Before Mandela’s release, Jack was amongst the political consultants during the democratic negotiations but decided to finally finish his studies and chose education above politics.
A story of sheer determination and triumph with commendations by Thabo Mbeki, Dali Mpofu and Kgalema Motlanthe.
Capitalism’s addiction to fossil fuels is heating our planet at a pace and scale never before experienced.
Extreme weather patterns, rising sea levels and accelerating feedback loops are a commonplace feature of our lives. The number of environmental refugees is increasing and several island states and low-lying countries are becoming vulnerable. Corporate-induced climate change has set us on an ecocidal path of species extinction. Governments and their international platforms such as the Paris Climate Agreement deliver too little, too late. Most states, including South Africa, continue on their carbon-intensive energy paths, with devastating results. Political leaders across the world are failing to provide systemic solutions to the climate crisis. This is the context in which we must ask ourselves: how can people and class agency change this destructive course of history?
The Climate Crisis investigates ecosocialist alternatives that are emerging. It presents the thinking of leading climate justice activists, campaigners and social movements advancing systemic alternatives and developing bottom-up, just transitions to sustain life. Through a combination of theoretical and empirical work, the authors collectively examine the challenges and opportunities inherent in the current moment.
Most importantly, it explores ways to renew historical socialism with democratic, ecosocialist alternatives to meet current challenges in South Africa and the world.
The life story of Coretta Scott King―wife of Martin Luther King Jr., founder of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change (The King Center), and singular twentieth-century American civil and human rights activist―as told fully for the first time, toward the end of her life, to Rev. Dr. Barbara Reynolds.
Born in 1927 to daringly enterprising parents in the Deep South, Coretta Scott had always felt called to a special purpose. While enrolled as one of the first black scholarship students recruited to Antioch College, she became politically and socially active and committed to the peace movement. As a graduate student at the New England Conservatory of Music, determined to pursue her own career as a concert singer, she met Martin Luther King Jr., a Baptist minister insistent that his wife stay home with the children. But in love and devoted to shared Christian beliefs as well as shared racial and economic justice goals, she married Dr. King, and events promptly thrust her into a maelstrom of history throughout which she was a strategic partner, a standard bearer, and so much more.
As a widow and single mother of four, she worked tirelessly to found and develop The King Center as a citadel for world peace, lobbied for fifteen years for the US national holiday in honor of her husband, championed for women's, workers’ and gay rights and was a powerful international voice for nonviolence, freedom and human dignity.
Coretta’s is a love story, a family saga, and the memoir of an extraordinary black woman in twentieth-century America, a brave leader who, in the face of terrorism and violent hatred, stood committed, proud, forgiving, nonviolent, and hopeful every day of her life.
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