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In spite of Cyril Ramaphosa's "new dawn", there are powerful forces in the ruling party that risk losing everything if corruption and state capture finally do come to an end. At the centre of the old guard's fightback efforts is Ace Magashule, a man viewed by some as South Africa's most dangerous politician.
In this explosive book, investigative journalist Pieter-Louis Myburgh ventures deeper than ever before into Magashule's murky dealings, from his time as a struggle activist in the 1980s to his powerful rule as premier of the Free State province for nearly a decade, and his rise to one of the ANC's most influential positions. Sifting through heaps of records, documents and exclusive source interviews, Myburgh explores Magashule's relationship with the notorious Gupta family and other tender moguls; investigates government projects costing billions that enriched his friends and family but failed the poor; reveals how he was about to be arrested by the Scorpions before their disbandment in the late 2000s; and exposes the methods used to keep him in power in the Free State and to secure him the post of ANC secretary-general.
Most tellingly, Myburgh pieces together a pack of leaked emails and documents to reveal shocking new details on a massive Free State government contract and Magashule's dealings with a businessman who was gunned down in Sandton in 2017. These files seem to lay bare the methods of a man who usually operated without leaving a trace.
Gangster State is an unflinching examination of the ANC's top leadership in the post-Jacob Zuma era, one that should lead readers to a disconcerting conclusion: When it comes to the forces of capture, South Africa is still far from safe.
Like so many of her generation, Lwando Xaso came of age alongside the beginnings and growth of South Africa’s constitutional democracy. Her journey into adulthood was a radically different one from that of earlier generations, marked by hope that changing perceptions would usher in a new and free society.
Made in South Africa – A Black Woman’s Stories of Rage, Resistance and Progress is a vibrant collection of essays in which Lwando examines with incisive clarity some of the events that have shaped her experience of South Africa – a country with huge potential but weighed down by persistent racism and inequality, cultural appropriation, sexism and corruption, all legacies of a complicated history.
As a young lawyer intent on climbing the corporate ladder, Lwando’s life’s direction was changed by a personal experience of the oppressive capacity of a supposedly democratic government when it unjustly fired a close family friend and mentor from a senior government position. She found herself on his legal team and the turmoil the case created within her led her to further her studies in constitutional law, and to pick up her pen and share with a wider audience her views of what was happening in her beloved country.
Her outlook was further shaped by her experience of clerking at the Constitutional Court for Justice Edwin Cameron, which deepened her respect for the South African Constitution, and what it really means for a resilient people to strive continually to live up to its moral and legal standards.
Lwando’s writing reflects her unflinching resolve to live according to the precepts of our groundbreaking Constitution and offers a challenge to all South Africans to believe in and achieve ‘the improbable’.
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.
Jan Smuts, one of the most infamous South Africans of the twentieth century remains a controversial figure. Was he one of the outstanding statesmen of his time or was he perhaps a traitor of Afrikaner interests and possibly a racist? Today there are still strong opinions on Smuts’s role.
Like Paul Kruger at the end of the nineteenth century, and Nelson Mandela as the twentieth century drew to a close, it was Jan Smuts who stood head and shoulders above his contemporaries in the first half of the twentieth century; he was a leader of extraordinary stature and his statesmanship is recognised internationally. And yet, the NP and ANC governments have downplayed his contributions for decades, because it did not endorse their Afrikaner and black nationalist versions of South African history. A reappraisal of Smuts will fill a gap in the literature on the history of South Africa in the first half of the twentieth century. Many of the biographies and other works on Smuts appeared during his lifetime or soon after his death. Today, a few generations later, we have a better perspective on his contributions within the historical context of his time. New evidence continues to come to light, making it possible to reach a more informed opinion on questions about Smuts, issues which previously could not be answered conclusively.
The purpose of the book, written almost three generations after his death, is to recall and re-evaluate Smuts’s contributions in various fields and in this way introduce him to the younger generation. It is important that Smuts be judged in the context of his particular time and circumstances. As far as his outlook on war and peace, civilisation, race and class differences, the capitalist system and South Africa’s place in the wider world are concerned, Smuts was certainly a product of his time. It would be unfair to measure him and his contemporaries against today’s norms and values. To do justice to him, his supporters, as well as his opponents and critics, due consideration should be accorded to how they lived, thought and reasoned in that era.
1 Recce: Behind Enemy Lines takes the reader into the ‘inner sanctum’ of the Recces. In their own words, Recce operators recount some of the life-threatening operations they conducted under great secrecy in the late 1970s.
Those who were there give first-hand accounts of the tension, anticipation, fear, adrenalin, exhaustion, thirst and grief they experienced, but also of the humorous moments and the close bonds of friendship that were forged in situations of mortal danger.
Forgiveness Redefined is Candice Mama’s honest and healing story. It tells how she found ways to deal with the death of her father, Glenack Masilo Mama, and to forgive the notorious apartheid assassin Eugene de Kock, the man responsible for his brutal murder. We follow Candice’s journey of discovering how her father died, how this affected her and how she battled the demons of depression before the age of sixteen. But most importantly, we follow her journey towards beating the odds and rising above her heartbreaks.
Candice Mama is today still under the age of 30, but has been named as one of Vogue Paris’ most inspiring women alongside glittering names such as Michelle Obama. She has taken backstage selfies with music crooner Seal and travels all over the world to talk about her journey. This bubbly, inspiring young author tells how she shed some of the worst layers of grief and became an inspiration for others. We learn about her perplexing, unconventional childhood, her search for identity, and the beautiful bond she formed, posthumously, with a father she never had the opportunity to get to know in person. She also tells, in her own words, about the life-changing encounter between her family and her father’s killer.
Candice tenderly opens up about the result of the trauma of her father’s death on her entire family, and meeting her mother for the first time at the age of four. She tells about the confusing, yet fascinating, dynamics that later unfolded as she discovered pieces of herself, rediscovered relationships with her own family and came to forgiveness and understanding.
This book serves as inspiration for other young – and older – people to look at their own stories through different lenses. Candice’s experiences are not unique, and she offers healing thoughts to others who suffered similar trauma by sharing the details of her own story. Forgiveness Redefined is a touching, personal story by a young woman who learned too early about pain, loss and rejection – but who also learned how to overcome those burdens and live joyfully.
Maggie is a remarkable firsthand account of a teenage girl’s experiences during the AngloBoer War.
Margaretha (Maggie) Jooste was only 13 years old when the AngloBoer War broke out and her life was irrevocably changed. After months of house arrest in their Heidelberg (Transvaal) home, she, her mother and younger siblings were sent away to concentration camps in Natal. There they experienced hunger, deprivation and loss, but also surprising acts of kindness from British guards.
This very personal account is a story of hardships, but also one of humanity and friendships over enemy lines. A golden threat is the close bond between the Jooste family and the Englishspeaking Russells who lived as neighbours and friends before the war broke out. While the British soldiers and Boer commandos fought the war, the Russells secretly provided food to the Joostes to help them survive, and supported them after the war.
A poignant and deeply moving, but also heartbreaking, true story.
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?
What was it like to be a freedom fighter in the 1980s? Eighteen members of the ANC’s military underground tell their stories, describing their backgrounds, their roles in the armed struggle and their lives since the fall of apartheid.
In 1987, the apartheid minister of law and order boasted that the security forces had crushed Umkhonto we Sizwe in the Western Cape. He could not have been more wrong. The Ashley Kriel Detachment, named after one of their slain comrades, conducted over thirty operations between late 1987 and early 1990, playing a crucial role in the defeat of an unjust system. In Voices from the Underground, eighteen members of the AKD give accounts of their involvement in the armed struggle. The book traces their varying journeys into MK, via student activism, trade unions, religious organisations and UDF politics. It details their training in Angola, Botswana, Tanzania, Cuba and South Africa, and their experiences of detention and interrogation. Members recall the stresses of couriering arms and explosives across police roadblocks, hiding in safe houses and evading capture. They talk about the operations they executed, the measures they took to avoid civilian casualties, and their responses to security breaches and the deaths of comrades in the line of duty.
Above all, this is a book about people, showing the effects of apartheid on their lives, their reasons for joining the armed struggle, the challenges of surviving in the underground while raising children, and their experiences of returning to civilian life or, in some cases, integrating into the SANDF.
Voices from the Underground gives a human face to ordinary people who took up arms to fight a violent state for the freedom of all South Africans.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In the South African House of Assembly, on 6 September 1966, Dimitri Tsafendas stabbed to death Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd. Afterwards, Tsafendas was declared to be a schizophrenic who believed a tapeworm lived inside him which controlled his actions, and that he had no political motive for assassinating Verwoerd. Pronounced unfit to stand trial, Tsafendas went down in history as a deranged parliamentary messenger. For fifty years, this story prevailed. However, this book now reveals the truth about Tsafendas; that he was deeply political from an early age.
He was arrested numerous times, starting in Mozambique, the country of his birth. In Portugal, the security police opened a file on him in 1938, when he was aged only twenty. After the assassination, Tsafendas volunteered a series of incontestable political reasons for killing Verwoerd, but these, along with details of his political past, were never allowed to see the light of day. This book reveals the extent of the cover-up by South Africa’s authorities and the desperate lengths they went to conceal the existence of Tsafendas’s opposition to apartheid. The book exposes one of the great lies in South African history, that Verwoerd was murdered by a mad man. It also offers for the first time a complete biography of this extraordinary man.
Advocate George Bizos characterised Dousemetzis’s work on Tsafendas and Verwoerd’s assassination as ‘monumental’ and of being ‘of major historical importance for South Africa and as to our understanding of Verwoerd’s assassination’. Professor John Dugard said ‘South African history should know the truth about Tsafendas. Dousemetzis has done South Africa a service by correcting the historical record.’
For the first time, Hillary Clinton reveals what she was thinking during one of the most controversial and unpredictable United States of America presidential elections in history.
In an intimate voice now free from the constraints of politics, Hillary tells the story of what it was like to be the first woman nominated for president in an election marked by rage, sexism, exhilarating highs and infuriating lows, kooky theatrics, Russian interference, a maddening inattention to serious issues, deplorable (yes, deplorable) bigotry, and an opponent who broke all the rules. In these pages, Hillary describes what it was like to run against Donald Trump, the mistakes she made, how she has coped with a shocking and devastating loss, and what the experience has taught her about life. With humour and candour, she tells readers what it took to get back on her feet—the rituals, the relationships, and occasional yelling at the television.
She also addresses the challenges of being a strong woman in public life, the criticism over her voice, age, and body, and how all women in politics confront a double standard whenever they express anger or ambition. Drawing upon the inspirational quotations she has collected for decades, she shows us how she became strong in the first place, how to find your core truths, and how to keep going in the face of adversity. In that sense, her book is a guide not just for how to persist in politics but also how to win in the real contest of life.
Hillary Clinton lost an election but she remains unbroken and undefeated. This memoir is for the millions of people around the world who want to understand what really happened in 2016, how to make sense of it, and how we all can keep going.
A riveting, action-filled account that sheds light on the realities of working in a war-torn country, this is the first book on the war in Iraq by a South African.
Johan Raath and a security team were escorting American engineers to a power plant south of Baghdad when they were ambushed. He had first arrived in Iraq only two weeks before. This was a small taste of what was to come over the next 13 years while he worked there as a private military contractor (PMC). His mission? Not to wage war but to protect lives. Raath acted as a bodyguard for VIPs and, more often, engineers who were involved in construction projects to rebuild the country after the 2003 war. His physical and mental endurance was tested to the limit in his efforts to safeguard construction sites that were regularly subjected to mortar and suicide attacks. Key to his survival was his training as a Special Forces operator, or Recce.
Working in places called the Triangle of Death and driving on the ‘Hell Run’, Raath had numerous hair-raising experiences. As a trained combat medic he also helped to save people’s lives after two suicide bomb attacks on sites he then worked at.
In A Man Apart Richard Steyn once again brings to life a South African icon. Louis Botha was the first Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa, a union he did much to create in the decade after the devastation of the Anglo-Boer War. During the war Botha was a brilliant young Boer general who through his battlefield strategy won significant victories over the British in the early stages of the war. When the weight of British arms overhelmed the Boers, Botha along with Smuts did much to encourage peace between English and Afrikaner and led the country to Union in 1910 and dominion status.
Botha was a big-hearted and generous man who showed magnanimity in his dealings with all, including former enemies. He led the South African troops to victory and the capture of German South West Africa – prior to this he had to put down a revolt of pro-German Afrikaners. At the Peace of Versailles, representing South Africa, he pleaded unsuccessfully for magnanimity towards the Germans. Botha was a globally respected figure – he and Smuts effectively operated as a double act in South Africa and on the international stage before Botha’s untimely death in August 1919 at only 57. In A Man Apart this tragically short life is illuminated in full.
Once, chef Brett Ladds was given a cigar by Fidel Castro, he talked weightlifting with Swazi king Mswati III and his cooking made Quincy Jones sing. For many years he also served Nelson Mandela many cups of rooibos tea and made him his favourite meals.
Ladds was the executive chef of the SA government and manager of the presidential guesthouse at Bryntirion Estate in Pretoria from 1994-1999 where he served both Mandela and Thabo Mbeki. It was a naive and star-struck 21-year-old Ladds who started working at the guesthouse in the months before the first democratic election. During this time he was always in the background when struggle stalwarts like Steve Tshwete, Joe Modise and Dullah Omar met Mandela to discuss the future of the country.
This heart-warming book tells of a young man’s coming of age at a turning point in our history. His stories about meeting kings and queens, presidents, rock stars and even the pope are laced with his unique, self-deprecating sense of humour. Of Queen Elizabeth he says it felt like speaking to his gran. “I asked myself, how does all that power fit into this lovely, caring lady?” Of Robert Mugabe: “He never moaned about a thing.”
Then there are the Russian diplomats and their drinking habits and the Saudi-Arabian sheik who had 8 television sets installed in his room and bought 20 blankets at R5000 each for his stay.
It’s a book to make you laugh and cry. And Madiba’s favourite champagne? Pêche Royale . . .
Enemy Of The People is the first definitive account of Zuma’s catastrophic misrule, offering eyewitness descriptions and cogent analysis of how South Africa was brought to its knees – and how a nation fought back.
When Jacob Zuma took over the leadership of the ANC one muggy Polokwane evening in December 2007, he inherited a country where GDP was growing by more than 6% per annum, a party enjoying the support of two-thirds of the electorate, and a unified tripartite alliance. Today, South Africa is caught in the grip of a patronage network, the economy is floundering and the ANC is staring down the barrel of a defeat at the 2019 general elections. How did we get here?
Zuma first brought to heel his party, Africa’s oldest and most revered liberation movement, subduing and isolating dissidents associated with his predecessor Thabo Mbeki. Then saw the emergence of the tenderpreneur and those attempting to capture the state, as well as a network of family, friends and business associates that has become so deeply embedded that it has, in effect, replaced many parts of government. Zuma opened up the state to industrial-scale levels of corruption, causing irreparable damage to state enterprises, institutions of democracy, and the ANC itself.
But it hasn’t all gone Zuma’s way. Former allies have peeled away. A new era of activism has arisen and outspoken civil servants have stepped forward to join a cross-section of civil society and a robust media. As a divided ANC square off for the elective conference in December, where there is everything to gain or to lose, award-winning journalists Adriaan Basson and Pieter du Toit offer a brilliant and up-to-date account of the Zuma era.
A deeply moving and powerful biography of Fezekile Kuzwayo – better known as Khwezi – the woman the ANC tried to forget.
In August 2016, following the announcement of the results of South Africa’s heated municipal election, four courageous young women interrupted Jacob Zuma’s victory address, bearing placards asking us to ‘Remember Khwezi’. Before being dragged away by security guards, their powerful message had hit home and the public was reminded of the tragic events of 2006, when Zuma was on trial for the rape of Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo, better known as Khwezi. In the aftermath of the trial, which saw Zuma acquitted, Khwezi was vilified by his many supporters and forced to take refuge outside of South Africa.
Ten years later, just two months after this protest had put Khwezi’s struggle back into the minds and hearts of South Africans, Khwezi passed away … But not before she had slipped back into South Africa and started work with Redi Tlhabi on a book about her life. How as a young girl living in ANC camps in exile she was raped by the very men who were supposed to protect her; how as an adult she was driven once again into exile, suffering not only at the hands of Zuma’s devotees but under the harsh eye of the media.
In sensitive and considered prose, journalist Redi Tlhabi breathes life into a woman for so long forced to live in the shadows. In giving agency back to Khwezi, Tlhabi is able to focus a broader lens on the sexual abuse that abounded during the ‘struggle’ years, abuse which continues to plague women and children in South Africa today.
Rosie Motene's story is about a young girl born to the Bafokeng nation during the apartheid era in South Africa.
At the time, Rosie’s mother worked for a white Jewish family in Johannesburg who offered to raise the child as one of their own. This generous gesture by the family created many opportunities for Rosie but also a trail of sacrifices for her parents. As she grew, Rosie struggled to find her true identity.
She had access to the best of everything but as a black girl she floundered without her own culture or language. This book describes Rosie’s journey through her fog of alienation to the belated dawning of herself discovery as an African.
Paul Kruger: Toesprake en korrespondensie van 1881–1900 probeer om die klem te plaas op minder bekende briefwisseling en optredes van Kruger om sodoende ’n verteenwoordigende beeld van staatspresident Kruger se werksaamhede en standpunte aan te bied. Die teks is deeglik toegelig met ophelderende voetnote. Verder is ’n algemene inleiding, agtergrondsinligting en -ontleding verskaf by elke toepaslike breër tydperk in Kruger se lewe tot 1900.
Die beeld wat van Kruger na vore kom uit ’n deeglike ontleding van veral sy minder bekende korrespondensie en toesprake, verskil dikwels ingrypend van dit wat oor ’n lang tydperk in publikasies oor hom aangebied is. Hierdie publikasie vervul daarom ’n belangrike behoefte: Dit stel die leser in staat om regstreeks deur die lees en bestudering van Kruger se standpunte tot eie en nuwe gevolgtrekkings te kom.
Mandela: His Essential Life chronicles the life and legacy of one of the twentieth century's most influential and admired statesmen.
Charting his development from remote rural roots to city lawyer, freedom fighter, and then political leader, Peter Hain takes an in-depth look at Mandela's rise through the ranks of the African National Congress (ANC) and subsequent 27 years imprisonment on Robben Island, as increasingly vocal protests against the injustices of Apartheid brought his struggle against overwhelming prejudice and oppression to the eyes of the world. This book encompasses Mandela's inauguration as South Africa's first democratically elected president, his "retirement" campaigns for human rights, a solution to AIDS and poverty. It goes on to chronicle his later years and death.
Throughout, the humanity and compassion of this extraordinary world leader shine through. The author concludes with a critical analysis of his and the ANC's achievements, its leadership's subsequent slide into corruption, and whether under new direction South Africa can reclaim the values and legacy of Mandela, and the 'rainbow nation' he created and led to such global acclaim.
Arrested in 1962 as South Africa’s apartheid regime intensified its brutal campaign against political opponents, forty-four-year-old lawyer and African National Congress activist Nelson Mandela had no idea that he would spend the next twenty-seven years in jail. During his 10,052 days of incarceration, Mandela wrote hundreds of letters to unyielding prison authorities, fellow activists, government officials, and most memorably to his courageous wife, Winnie, and his five children.
Now, 255 of these letters, a majority of which were previously unseen, provide the most intimate portrait of Mandela since Long Walk to Freedom. Whether writing about the death of his son Thembi after a request to attend the funeral was ignored, providing unwavering support to his also-imprisoned wife, or outlining a human-rights philosophy that resonates today, The Prison Letters Of Nelson Mandela reveals the heroism of a man who refused to compromise his moral values in the face of extraordinary human punishment.
Ultimately, they position Mandela, along with Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., among the most inspiring historical figures of the twentieth century.
It probably took a fraction of a second from the knock - a single bang - to the opening of the door and the entry of an unexpected visitor into the room. They had just finished their lunch. The unannounced visitor ...simply pretended that everything was normal. There he stood - unfazed and somehow gigantic in his presence. The room had suddenly been invaded by a man who was to be a landmark in the lives of the trainees...
The book opens in China, 1962. Andrew Mlangeni is one of a small select group undergoing military training. The unannounced visitor is Mao Tse-Tung. While still at school, Andrew Mlangeni joined the Communist Party of South Africa and also the ANC Youth League. These were the organisations that shaped his values. Decades of resourceful activism were to lead to his arrest and life sentence in the Rivonia trial. Mlangeni's lifelong commitment to the struggle for liberation reverberates with other biographies of leading figures. His perspective comes from a somewhat ambiguous position in the hierarchy of liberation leaders. Mlangeni was selected as one of the first-ever six members who received military training in China before the formation of Umkhonto we Sizwe. He seems to have been chosen because he was a dedicated, intelligent and dependable operative, rather than a leader.
Even after his release after 25 years on Robben Island, Mlangeni was not given a senior position in the post-apartheid democratic government. 'I was always the backroom boy,' says Andrew Mlangeni about himself. This story of an ANC elder is a rigorously researched historical record overlaid with intensely personal reflections which intersect with the political narrative. Above all, it is one man's story, set in the maelstrom of the liberation struggle.
This biographical project has been developed for, and published in conjunction with, the June and Andrew Mlangeni Foundation.
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