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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.
'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.
It is now over forty years since Steve Biko died in detention and the major Black Consciousness organizations were banned. Now forty years later, the face of black politics and indeed the whole balance of power in South Africa, has changed almost beyond recognition - and yet the memory of Biko and the imprint of Black Consciousness remain indelibly with us.
In this book a number of Biko’s colleagues and friends have come together to reassess the achievements of Biko and Black Consciousness, and to examine the rich legacy they have left us. In their chapters they reflect on the many ways in which the Black Consciousness Movement succeeded in transforming black minds and politics by freeing people to take their destiny into their own hands - encouraging them to press the very limits and redefine what had been accepted as the bounds of possibility.
Black Consciousness left a legacy of defiance in action and inspired a culture of fearlessness which was carried forward by the township youth in 1976 and sustained throughout the 1980s. For it is in South Africa’s township that there has been an awakening of the people, people who finally made the politicians move.
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.
The infamous Seriti Commission into the arms deal. The Glenister case following the disbanding of the Scorpions. Busting open the bread manufacturers’ cartel.
High drama; high stakes brought to South Africa courtesy of the Accountability Now NGO, and its founder Paul Hoffman.
Join him in his journey from jaded silk to corruption buster – a fly-on-the-wall account of courtroom battles, influential personalities, secrets and lies in the battle to speak truth to power.
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.
Priscilla Jana is a legendary figure in South African revolutionary politics. As an Indian woman who had experienced racial oppression first-hand, she decided to use her degree in law to fight for the rights of her fellow people and do all she could to bring down the Apartheid state - who saw her as a very real threat. At one time she represented every single political prisoner on Robben Island, including both the late Nelson Mandela and his wife Winnie. Priscilla spent her days in court, fighting human rights case after human rights case, but it was at night when her real work was done. As part of an underground cell, she fought tirelessly to bring down the hated government. This activism, however, came at a price. One of South Africa's infamous 'banned persons', for five years Priscilla was unable to take part in any political activities, enter any place where a large number of people were gathered, and had her movements severely restricted. Worse, her own home was attacked with petrol bombs on multiple occasions. Undeterred, Priscilla Jana continued her work, even adopting the baby daughter of a client imprisoned on Robben Island, bringing here up, educating her, and providing a loving home. Finally, upon Mandela's release and the political revolution of her beloved country, Priscilla's work was rewarded, as she was elected as a member of South Africa's first democratic parliament. Later, she was to become an ambassador to both The Netherlands and Ireland. Now retired and living in Cape Town, Priscilla still works and waits for her most fervent desire: the true healing and unification of South Africa.
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.
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.
The history-making, ground-breaking speeches of Greta Thunberg, the young activist who is becoming the voice of a generation
'Everything needs to change. And it has to start today'
In August 2018 a fifteen-year-old Swedish girl, Greta Thunberg, decided not to go to school one day. Her actions ended up sparking a global movement for action against the climate crisis, inspiring millions of pupils to go on strike for our planet, forcing governments to listen, and earning her a Nobel Peace Prize nomination.
This book brings you Greta in her own words, for the first time. Collecting her speeches that have made history across Europe, from the UN to mass street protests, No One Is Too Small to Make A Difference is a rallying cry for why we must all wake up and fight to protect the living planet, no matter how powerless we feel. Our future depends upon it.
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.
The first comprehensive investigation into the life of former operative Eugene de Kock. It includes innumerable hours of in-depth conversations with De Kock whilst in prison, is based on his diaries, prison writings and psychological reports.
Anemari Jansen was unexpectedly introduced to De Kock in 2011 at Pretoria Central. She was immediately fascinated by “the man with the soft voice and well-groomed hands”, well aware that those were the very hands that had murdered several people.
Jansen wanted to know how this intelligent, well-read individual could be the “monster” from the Vlakplaas death squad, the man the media dubbed Prime Evil. For the next three years she researched De Kock’s story intensely. She won his trust, paying him visits in prison ! Sunday after Sunday. She also had exclusive access to his family and friends, as well as old Koevoet and Vlakplaas colleagues.
Her quest for answers took her to all the corners of South Africa and changed her life irrevocably. Jansen, who has been apolitical for most of her life, was forced in this process to confront the horrors of apartheid and to reassess her own identity as an Afrikaner.
Huge sections of De Kock’s diaries and unpublished manuscript are included in the book. De Kock is blatantly honest, not just only about the Vlakplaas atrocities, but also about his experience in the Border War as a member of Koevoet. In this book he discloses the names of his superiors who gave him his orders, many of whom have escaped sanction.
The book not only illuminates the complexities of De Kock as person and the choices he had to make, but also exposes South Africa’s recent history in an open and sometimes shocking manner.
"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.
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.
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