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When Robert McBride was sentenced to death, he turned to the public gallery in court and said: ‘Freedom is just around the corner. I am leaving you at the corner – and you must take that corner to find freedom on the other side.’ As the guard moved in, he raised his fist and shouted: ‘The struggle continues till Babylon falls!’
It was 1987: the time of ‘total onslaught’. The trial of the MK unit that planted the Magoo's bomb on the Durban beachfront dominated the news but few knew the real facts of the brave young people who brought the armed struggle to KwaZulu-Natal.
This is the remarkable story of McBride and his comrades: the substation sabotage spree, rescuing a compatriot from hospital and smuggling him to Botswana, the devastating Why Not and Magoo's car bomb that killed three women, the dramatic trial and McBride’s 1 463 days on Death Row.
Now updated to include McBride’s controversial life after the end of apartheid, this is a thrilling tale of a young South African’s incredible courage, loyalty between friends and falling in love across the race barrier. Today, the struggle continues as McBride fights against corruption and state capture.
Cape Town, 2018. South Africa’s mother city is wracked by drought. The prospect of premier Helen Zille’s ‘Day Zero’ – the day when all taps run dry – is driving its citizens into a frenzy. When it’s announced that Mayor Patricia de Lille is off the water crisis, the predicament reaches its zenith and politicians turn upon each other.
And so begins a stupendous battle within the Democratic Alliance: who will lead Cape Town? It’s during this time that author and researcher Crispian Olver applies to the City of Cape Town to gain access to certain official documents as part of a research project. He is baffled when his application is rejected without explanation, but this only strengthens his resolve to explore how the city of his childhood is run. In particular, he has his sights set on the relationship between city politicians and property developers.
Olver interviews numerous individuals, including many ‘chopped’ from the city administration. What he uncovers is a pandora’s box of backstabbing, in-fighting and backroom deals. He explores dodgy property developments at Wescape and Maiden’s Cove, delves into attempts to ‘hijack’ civic associations, and exposes the close yet precautious relationship between the mayor and City Hall’s so-called ‘laptop boys’. But his main goal is to understand what led to the political meltdown within the Democratic Alliance, and the defection of De Lille to form her own party.
It’s easy to imagine that state capture began with Jacob Zuma and the Guptas. But you’d be wrong.
Born out of the ANC Women’s League 20 years ago, Bosasa has come to be described as the ANC’s ‘Heart of Darkness’. At its helm today is Gavin Watson, a struggle-rugby-player-turned-tenderpreneur who made it his business to splash out on gifts and cash to get up close and personal with the country’s top politicians and civil servants. In return, Bosasa won tenders to the tune of billions of rands and – with friends in high places – stayed clear of prosecution. Adriaan Basson has been investigating Bosasa since he was a rookie journalist 13 years ago. He has been sued, intimidated and threatened, but has stuck to the story like a bloodhound. Now, in the wake of the explosive findings of the Zondo commission, he has weaved the threads of Bosasa’s story together.
Blessed by Bosasa is a riveting in-depth investigation into an extraordinary story of high-level corruption and rampant pillage, of backdoor dealings and grandiose greed. Through substantial research and a number of interviews with key individuals, Basson unveils the shady, cult-like underbelly of the criminal company that held the Zuma government in the palm of its hand.
Anger, hurt, loss, rejection … these feelings are familiar to the families who, in the early 1970s, were forced from their homes in Harfield Village in Cape Town’s southern suburbs. Siona O’Connell brings their stories to light. She examines the lost ways of life, the sense of home and belonging.
David Brown’s images show what life was like in Harfield before the removals, and his images are echoed by recent photos of the same former residents.
In 2015 and 2016 waves of student protest swept across South African campuses under the banner of FeesMustFall. This book offers a historical perspective, analysing regional influences on the ideologies that have underpinned South African student politics from the 1960s to the present. The author considers the history of student organisations in the Northern Transvaal (today Limpopo Province) and the ways in which students and youth influenced political change on a national scale, over generations.
The University of the North at Turfloop played an integral role in building the South African Students’ Organisation (SASO) in the late 1960s and propagating Black Consciousness in the 1970s; in the 1980s it became an ideological battleground where Black Consciousness advocates and ANC-affiliates competed for influence. Limpopo has remained a hotbed of political activism in the country. Generations of nationally prominent student and youth activists became politically conscientised here – among them Julius Malema, Onkgopotse Tiro, Cyril Ramaphosa, Frank Chikane and Peter Mokaba.
Turfloop (University of Limpopo) has remained politically significant in the post-apartheid era: it was here in 2007 that Julius Malema supported Jacob Zuma’s ascension to the South African presidency during the ANC’s pivotal party conference that resulted in the ousting of Thabo Mbeki.
An unflinching look at the #FeesMustFall student movement that burst onto the South African political landscape in 2015 as a protest over the cost of education.
The story is told by four student leaders at Wits University and their Vice Chancellor, Adam Habib, a left-wing, former anti-apartheid student activist. When Habib’s efforts to contain the protest fail, he brings 1000 police on to campus. There are dire consequences for the young leaders. By blending dramatic unfolding action with a multi-protagonist narrative, much of the drama lies in the internal struggles the activists have around the weight of leadership.
Threaded through the film is a pulse of anticipation, shared across the generational divide, that somehow these youth have reached breaking point and won’t back down until they achieve the kind of social transformation that previous generations had long given up on.
A younger generation of South Africans are developing important and innovative ways of understanding South Africa’s past, challenging narratives that have, over the last decades, been informed by notions of forgiveness and reconciliation. Carli Coetzee uses the image of history-rich blood to explore these approaches to intergenerational memory. In this book, she revisits older archives and analyses contemporary South African cultural and literary forms.
The emphasis on blood challenges the privileged status skin has had as an explanatory category in thinking about identity. Instead, Coetzee emphasises intergenerational transfer and continuity. She argues that a younger generation is contesting the terms through which to understand contemporary South Africa and interpreting the legacies of the past that remain under the visible layer of skin.
The chapters each concern blood: Mandela’s prison cell as laboratory for producing bloodless freedom, the kinship relations created and resisted in accounts of Eugene de Kock in prison, Ruth First’s concern with information leaks in her accounts of her time in prison, the first human-to-human heart transplant and its relation to racialised attempts to salvage white identity, the #Fallist moment, the Abantu Book Festival, and activist scholarship and creative art works that use blood as a trope for thinking about change and continuity.
In 2016, the country watched as eight journalists stood up to the public broadcaster to dissent against the censorship imposed by COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng and the capture of the newsroom. They would become known as the SABC8. While many may remember the headlines, photos and footage that circulated during that time, few know the real story: the way lives were changed while history was being made.
Now, Foeta Krige, one of the SABC8, shares his version of events: how it came about that eight very different journalists from within the public broadcaster, each with their own unique background and motivation, were brought together by circumstance to fight the mighty SABC in the name of media freedom. This forms the backdrop for a lesser-known story – one of death threats, intimidation, assault and the eventual death of Suna Venter. Her death shocked the nation and baffled investigators. Was it a natural death caused by stress, or were there more sinister forces involved? To understand why her death was red-flagged, it is necessary to retrace her steps and how they converged with those of the seven other journalists.
Krige takes the reader back to the day when everything started, telling the gripping, and often harrowing, story behind the sensational headlines.
The future of mining in South Africa is hotly contested. Wide-ranging views from multiple quarters rarely seem to intersect, placing emphasis on different questions without engaging in holistic debate.
This book aims to catalyse change by gathering together fragmented views into unifying conversations. It highlights the importance of debating the future of mining in South Africa and for reaching consensus in other countries across the mineral-dependent globe.
It covers issues such as the potential of platinum to spur industrialisation, land and dispossession on the platinum belt, the roles of the state and capital in mineral development, mining in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the experiences of women in and affected by mining since the late 19th century and mine worker organising: history and lessons and how post-mine rehabilitation can be tackled.
It was inspired not only by an appreciation of South Africa’s extensive mineral endowments, but also by a realisation that, while the South African mining industry performs relatively well on many technical indicators, its management of broader social issues leaves much to be desired. It needs to be deliberated whether the mining industry can play as critical a role going forward as it did in the evolution of the country’s economy.
Mteto Nyati knew as a schoolboy in Mthatha, working at his mother’s store, that he wanted to fix and build things. After completing his studies at Natal University, he turned down a Rhodes scholarship and headed for Jo'burg to take up a position at Afrox. He was the only black engineer and the advice he received was ‘don’t mess up’.
He didn’t and today is one of South Africa’s top CEOs. This is his inspirational story.
As an award-winning photojournalist and part of the Bang-Bang Club, Greg Marinovich has covered war and conflict all over Africa and the world. In Shots From The Edge he recounts his experiences in these conflict zones, recalling interviews with the perpetrators and the victims of violence, from rebels, child soldiers and terrorists to peacekeepers, aid workers, rape survivors, orphans and amputees. The book takes the reader throughout South Africa, and to Angola, Mozambique, Somalia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Chechnya, Palestine and many other contested zones.
With compassion and care, Marinovich documents more than two decades’ worth of turbulent history and reveals the people involved in the conflict. Some of the moments are deeply moving and profound; others so surreal as to blur into insanity. From coming under fire with United Nations peacekeeping troops in the Lašva Valley and being escorted around Mogadishu by a crew of gunmen for hire, to running through the streets of Johannesburg as Inkatha and the ANC face off at Shell House, the reader is exposed to people, places and experiences that would otherwise be difficult to comprehend.
The accounts in Shots From The Edge are at once insightful, tragic, shocking and occasionally humorous, but above all they are a poignant reminder of the brutality and indignity of war, and man’s capacity for cruelty.
Africa Reimagined is a passionately argued appeal for a rediscovery of our African identity. Going beyond the problems of a single country, Hlumelo Biko calls for a reorientation of values, on a continental scale, to suit the needs and priorities of Africans. Building on the premise that slavery, colonialism, imperialism and apartheid fundamentally unbalanced the values and indeed the very self-concept of Africans, he offers realistic steps to return to a more balanced Afro-centric identity.
Historically, African values were shaped by a sense of abundance, in material and mental terms, and by strong ties of community. The intrusion of religious, economic and legal systems imposed by conquerors, traders and missionaries upset this balance, and the African identity was subsumed by the values of the newcomers. Biko shows how a reimagining of Africa can restore the sense of abundance and possibility, and what a rebirth of the continent on Pan-African lines might look like. This is not about the churn of the news cycle or party politics – although he identifies the political party as one of the most pernicious legacies of colonialism. Instead, drawing on latest research, he offers a practical, pragmatic vision anchored in the here and now.
By looking beyond identities and values imposed from outside, and transcending the divisions and frontiers imposed under colonialism, it should be possible for Africans to develop fully their skills, values and ingenuity, to build institutions that reflect African values, and to create wealth for the benefit of the continent as a whole.
A quest is never what you expect it to be.
Elizabeth Madeline Martin spends her days in a retirement home in Cape Town, watching the pigeons and squirrels on the branch of a tree outside her window. Bedridden, her memory fading, she can recall her early childhood spent in a small wood-and-iron house in Blackridge on the outskirts of Pietermaritzburg. Though she remembers the place in detail – dogs, a mango tree, a stream – she has no idea of where exactly it is. ‘My memory is full of blotches,’ she tells her daughter Julia, ‘like ink left about and knocked over.’
Julia resolves to find the Blackridge house: with her mother lonely and confused, would this, perhaps, bring some measure of closure? A journey begins that traverses family history, forgotten documents, old photographs, and the maps that stake out a country’s troubled past – maps whose boundaries nature remains determined to resist. Kind strangers, willing to assist in the search, lead to unexpected discoveries of ancestors and wars and lullabies. Folded into this quest are the tender conversations between a daughter and a mother who does not have long to live.
Taken as one, The Blackridge House is a meditation on belonging, of the stories we tell of home and family, of the precarious footprint of life.
Chris Barnard needed the help of exceptional men and women to stay ahead of the fast-developing science of transplantation. One of these exceptional men were Winston Wicomb, the darker brother of the famous Randall.
He had to be hidden as a child to prevent the Apartheid inspectors from discovering his family’s racial identity. He had to endure the rampant racism that existed in South Africa at school and in the army… Winston, who had to fix cars in the backyard to make ends meet, had a curious encounter with Chris Barnard and got appointed in his research laboratory. Winston had to develop an apparatus with which hearts could be kept alive to enable transport.
This is the story of an unlikely hero; a man who changed transplantation forever, and a South African citizen who never got the recognition he deserved.
It’s a story of perseverance. And hope. Even... love.
When working on the UNESCO Slave Route project in the early 2000s, Botlhale Tema discovered the extraordinary fact that her highly educated family from the farm Welgeval in the Pilanesberg had originated with two young men who had been child slaves in the midnineteenth century. She pieced together the fragments of information from relatives and members of the community, and scoured the archives to produce this book.
Land Of My Ancestors, previously published as The People Of Welgeval, tells the story of the two young men and their descendants, as they build a life for themselves on Welgeval. As they raise their families and take in people who have been dispossessed, we follow the births, deaths, adventures and joys of the farm’s inhabitants in their struggle to build a new community.
Set against the backdrop of slavery, colonialism, the Anglo-Boer War and the rise of apartheid, this is a fascinating and insightful retelling of history. It is an inspiring story about friendship and family, landownership and learning, and about how people transform themselves from victims to victors.
A new prologue and epilogue give more historical context to the narrative and tell the story of the land claim involving the farm, which happened after the book’s original publication.
In this riveting undercover spy drama, Bradley Steyn tells the story of his journey from a boy caught in the middle of the Strijdom Square massacre, to acting out his PTSD working for the apartheid security branch. Finally he ends up being recruited by MK and used to infiltrate the crazed right-wing whose mission is to destabilise a South Africa on the brink of peace.
With these forces pushing the nation towards a bloody race war, will his time run out before they discover he is working for Mandela's spies?
This astonishing true-life thriller reveals for the first time some of the dirty secrets of a dirty war.
What does it take to deceive those closest to you? How do you lead a double life and not lose yourself? Is there ever a point of return? Jonathan Ancer explores these questions in the tales of SA’s spies: from the navy superspy on the Russian payroll to the party girl who fell in love with Cuba and the idealistic students used and abused in apartheid’s intelligence war.
Ancer gets under the skin of what it takes to betray those closest to you – and what it is means to be betrayed.
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.
When, in the 1990s, Wilhelm Verwoerd openly spoke out against his grandfather's racist policies and joined the ANC, he was ejected from the family. Working in Northern Ireland, making peace between former enemies, he feels the urge to return to his homeland, to make peace with his own family.
Between listening to searing stories of friends and neigbours’ suffering under apartheid, he reads Betsie Verwoerd’s intimate private diaries. This moving memoir examines the complexities of having Verwoerd blood in your veins in the full knowledge that Verwoerd has blood on his hands.
A nuanced and intimate look at family loyalty, betrayal, and the demands of restitution in South Africa.
How To Steal A Country describes the vertiginous decline in political leadership in South Africa from Mandela to Zuma and its terrible consequences. Robin Renwick’s account reads in parts like a novel – a crime novel – for Sherlock Holmes old adversary, Professor Moriarty, the erstwhile Napoleon of Crime, would have been impressed by the ingenuity, audacity and sheer scale of the looting of the public purse, let alone the impunity with which it has been accomplished.
Based on Renwick’s personal experiences of the main protagonists, it describes the extraordinary influence achieved by the Gupta family for those seeking to do business with state-owned enterprises in South Africa, and the massive amounts earned by Gupta related companies from their associations with them. The ensuing scandals have engulfed Bell Pottinger, KPMG, McKinsey and other multinationals. The primary responsibility for this looting of the state however, rests squarely with President Zuma and key members of his government. But South Africa has succeeded in establishing a genuinely non-racial society full of determined and enterprising people, offering genuine hope for the future. These include independent journalists, black and white, who refuse to be silenced, and the judges, who have acted with courage and independence.
The book concludes that change will come, either by the ruling party reverting to the values of Mandela and Archbishop Tutu, or by the reckoning it otherwise will face one day.
‘How can there be only one dedicated hospital in the country for our children?’
When Madiba asked this question, he sowed the seeds of a challenge that would grow into a legacy.
A seed may be small but its size is disproportionate to what it can become over time. The Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital was a project that seemed impossible when it was just an idea that started with ten people seated around a dinner table. As they discussed the state of healthcare in the country and shared their experiences, they realised that it was the children of Southern Africa who were the most disadvantaged by the lack of dedicated paediatric facilities. At the end of the evening a statement by the late Dr Nthato Motlana took hold and became the catalyst for a remarkable journey: ‘I will speak to Nelson,’ he said.
With South Africa’s first democratically elected president Nelson Mandela’s backing, the board of the Children’s Fund was inspired to take up the challenge to address this vital need. After years of global research and advice from experts in numerous different fields a Trust was formed to oversee the project and, critically, to set about raising the one billion rand it would take to build, equip and staff a state-of-the-art children’s hospital.
The stories behind the planning for, fundraising and building of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital are inspiring, personal, and sometimes heart-breaking. It was a long and arduous journey, beset with difficulties, but the dedicated team’s commitment and courage prevailed to create a living legacy that will truly impact the lives of children for generations to come.
Today, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital in Johannesburg is a proud testimony to a uniquely African story which honours the memory of a great statesman and celebrates the children for whom he cared so deeply.
Showcasing the work of more than 200 women writers of African descent, this major international collection celebrates their contributions to literature and international culture.
Twenty-five years ago, Margaret Busby’s groundbreaking anthology Daughters Of Africa illuminated the “silent, forgotten, underrated voices of black women” (Washington Post). Published to international acclaim, it was hailed as “an extraordinary body of achievement… a vital document of lost history” (Sunday Times). New Daughters Of Africa continues that mission for a new generation, bringing together a selection of overlooked artists of the past with fresh and vibrant voices that have emerged from across the globe in the past two decades, from Antigua to Zimbabwe with numerous South African contributors. Key figures join popular contemporaries in paying tribute to the heritage that unites them. Each of the pieces in this remarkable collection demonstrates an uplifting sense of sisterhood, honours the strong links that endure from generation to generation, and addresses the common obstacles women writers of colour face as they negotiate issues of race, gender and class, and confront vital matters of independence, freedom and oppression.
Custom, tradition, friendships, sisterhood, romance, sexuality, intersectional feminism, the politics of gender, race, and identity—all and more are explored in this glorious collection of work from over 200 writers. New Daughters Of Africa spans a wealth of genres—autobiography, memoir, oral history, letters, diaries, short stories, novels, poetry, drama, humour, politics, journalism, essays and speeches—to demonstrate the diversity and remarkable literary achievements of black women.
New Daughters Of Africa features a number of well-known South African contributors including Gabeba Baderoon, Nadia Davids, Diana Ferrus, Vangile Gantsho, Barbara Masekela, Lebogang Mashile and Sisonke Msimang.
Throughout the past 50 years, the courts have been a battleground for contesting political forces as more and more conflicts that were once fought in Parliament or in streets, or through strikes and media campaigns, find their way to the judiciary.
Certainly, the legal system was used by both the apartheid state and its opponents. But it is in the post-apartheid era, and in particular under the rule of President Jacob Zuma, that we have witnessed a dramatic increase in ‘lawfare’: the migration of politics to the courts.
The authors show through a series of case studies how just about every aspect of political life ends up in court: the arms deal, the demise of the Scorpions, the Cabinet reshuffle, the expulsion of the EFF from Parliament, the nuclear procurement process, the Cape Town mayor…
This book celebrates the rich, varied and untold history of investigative journalism in southern Africa and the crucial role it has played in shaping the region over the last 300 years.
It tells of the escapades of those who exposed atrocities of the British colonial rulers, the seizure of land from black owners, apartheid death squads, prison conditions, farm labour, government and corporate corruption, environmental travesty and health issues. Young journalists who have previously studied the likes of the Watergate scandal will have access to African journalists who faced huge risks to expose the abuse of power, ranging from the undercover exploits of the legendary ‘Mr Drum’, through to the recent #Guptaleaks exposé, of which it was said, ‘Seldom have journalists played such a crucial role in bringing a country back from the brink.’ The book highlights the long record of accountability journalism in countries such as South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe, and the recent surge of such work in others such as Botswana and Malawi.
It breaks new ground in stretching the history of this type of journalism decades further back than previously recorded, including largely ignored work such as John Dube’s coverage of the Zulu Bambatha Rebellion and Richard Msimang’s documentation of the impact of land confiscation in the early 20th century.
The book includes an introduction by Anton Harber, editor and professor, and each case study is written up by an expert in the area.
South Africa’s pre-eminent historian explains the spectacular rise – and probable demise – of the numerical minority that dominated 20th-century South Africa.
The Afrikaners are unique in the world in that they successfully mobilised ethnic entrepreneurship without state assistance, controlled the entire country, and then yielded power without military defeat. Award-winning author Hermann Giliomee takes a hard analytical look at this group’s dramatic ascent and possible disappearance as a nation in a series of well-argued thematic chapters. Topics range from ethnic entrepreneurship, the ‘coloured vote’ and ‘Bantu’ education to Nelson Mandela’s relationship with the last Afrikaner leaders.
It ends with a final chapter on the most likely future for this sometimes admired, often reviled group, which undoubtedly left the largest imprint on South African history in the 20th century.
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