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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.
Investigative journalist Jacques Pauw exposes the darkest secret at the heart of Jacob Zuma’s compromised government: a cancerous cabal that eliminates the president’s enemies and purges the law-enforcement agencies of good men and women.
As Zuma fights for his political life following the 2017 Gupta emails leak, this cabal – the president’s keepers – ensures that after years of ruinous rule, he remains in power and out of prison. But is Zuma the puppet master, or their puppet? Journey with Pauw as he explores the shadow mafia state. From KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape to the corridors of power in Pretoria and Johannesburg – and even to clandestine meetings in Russia. It’s a trail of lies and spies, cronies, cash and kingmakers as Pauw prises open the web of deceit that surrounds the fourth president of the democratic era.
‘An amazing piece of work, stuffed with anecdote and evidence. It will light fires all through the state and the ANC.’ - Peter Bruce
‘This is dynamite. Dynamite that will shake the foundations of the halls of power.’ - Max du Preez
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.
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.
The late eighties was a highly politicised environment. Willem Laubscher was healing some of the world’s best-known political prisoners, amongst them Walter Sisulu and Govan Mbeki. When Nelson Mandela was scheduled for a similar operation, all hell broke loose.
The National Party was quietly plotting to smuggle Mandela out of the country, possibly hoping that he would escape, while the ANC was scoring points by casting doubt on the medical services that white doctors like Laubscher was willing to provide to the political prisoners. A relatively simple medical operation turned into an international diplomatic crisis. Meanwhile, in most ironic of twists, the security police was taking desperate measures to ensure Mandela’s safety – the country could simply not afford an assassination attempt.
Willem Laubscher was the medical practitioner in the eye of this storm; Nelson Mandela was the calm strategist who had held out against pressure from both the jittery NP government and the increasingly boisterous ANC, with Winnie Mandela already larger than life, stoking the media and exploiting every available loophole to embarrass the government.
This is the story of a few weeks of diplomatic chaos, and a security operation that completely overshadowed the medical procedure Mandela was scheduled for. Read all about it now in this 64-page memoir of that provocative time, Operation Mandela.
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.
Vusi Mavimbela is one of South Africa's foremost political adventurers and wanderers. A writer of singular verve, humour and descriptive power, his memoir provides penetrating pen portraits of many well-known South African and African political actors, including martyred uMkhonto weSizwe guerilla Solomon Mahlangu, Nigeria's Olusegun Obasanjo, Robert Mugabe and a galaxy of senior ANC exiles such as Joe Slovo, Chris Hani, Josiah Jele, Joel Netshitenzhe and Mac Maharaj.
He touches on and illuminates the personalities of many influential men and women in South Africa's early democratic governments. But the heart of Mavimbela's narrative lies in his unique experience of working as a top administrator and counsellor in the offices of Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma. In the most intimate detail, he describes the emergence and escalation of the conflict between those two flawed principals. He captures the drama of their struggle and its destructive fallout for the new South African state.
Mavimbela offers a potent warning: loyalty and long service to a political party is no guarantee of wise and effective leadership.
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.
The Last Hurrah describes in vivid detail a pivotal moment not just in the history of South Africa, that far-flung imperial outpost, but of the British Empire itself. The year 1947 marked the high-water mark of the British Empire in Africa, but also the very moment at which it began to unravel, ahead of the Afrikaner Nationalist victory in South Africa in 1948, which led inexorably to the Republic of South Africa in 1961 and its departure from the Commonwealth.
Graham Viney's book not only superbly captures a moment in the life of a fractious, recently formed 'nation', before its descent into nearly five decades of darkness, but also gives us an intimate and revealing portrait of the royal family - King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret - hard at work in support of the national interest. It seems clear that the present Queen Elizabeth must have learned a great deal from her father, but perhaps particularly her mother, about duty and statecraft in the course of this three-month tour, during which the then princess celebrated her twenty-first birthday.
Viney evocatively details the background to the 1947 royal tour of southern Africa, which took in not just the length and breadth of what was then the Union of South Africa, but its neighbours, too: Basutoland (now Lesotho), Bechuanaland (Botswana), Swaziland (very recently renamed the Kingdom of eSwatini), Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and Northern Rhodesia (Zambia). The royal family travelled ceaselessly, from February to April that year, on a specially commissioned, white-painted train, meeting thousands of people at every stop along the way.
The tour was a show of imperial solidarity and a recognition of South Africa's contribution to the Allied cause during the Second World War, specifically that of South African prime minister Jan Smuts, who, though once an adversary in the Boer War and Churchill's jailer, had served in both British war cabinets and been nicknamed 'the handyman of Empire'. Despite concerns and ongoing controversy, wherever the tour took the Royal Family, South Africans of all kinds turned out in their thousands to cheer and welcome them. But India was to gain independence later that same year and just one year later, Smuts had been ousted from power and South Africa set on the path to becoming a republic.
The Last Hurrah draws skilfully on many diverse sources, including the Royal Archive at Windsor, to explore not just the troubled politics of the time, but also local society and the royal visitors in richly textured, telling detail. The book includes many photographs of the royal family on tour not previously published, including stills from film footage unearthed in the South African Railway Museum archives.
Written like a thriller in the engaging style of his previous best sellers about the liberation struggle, this book takes up the tale in 2004 when Ronnie Kasrils became Minister of Intelligence, and continues to the present day.
Kasrils fought against the lies and abuses of state resources at the cost of his party popularity. His struggle for the truth, for that is what the book is about, covers the tumultuous years that saw Mbeki’s overthrow and replacement by Zuma at the ANC’s Polokwane Conference, the scandal around the Nkandla property, growing militarisation of the police resulting in the Marikana Massacre, the outrageous appointment of flunkies to high office, the present “state capture” report and the unseemly relationship with the Gupta group. The confusion engendered by Zuma has led Kasrils to explain theenigma and contradictions of the man giving rise to the book’s title. But uppermost in his mind is to explain that corruption and the abuse of power does not begin with Zuma. His thesis points to the compromises on the economy going back to Mandela and the negotiations of the 1990s which he refers to as a “Faustian Pact.” Political power but not control of the economy occurred.
The latter factor has given rise to the problems of inequality, unemployment, poverty, protest and frustration that besets the country. Kasrils argues that the scandalous corruption and crony capitalism under Zuma is symptomatic of underlying contradictions. Merely replacing Zuma without dealing with the economic factors will not solve the problem and time is running out. Kasrils suggests firm remedies to urgently turn around the situation in the interests of all.
A Simple Man: Kasrils And The Zuma Enigma is a gripping page-turner that courageously exposes the intrigues underway and threats to our young democracy. A stark warning rings out of what may face us all if urgent systemic remedies are not taken.
In die plaaslike verkiesing van 2016 is die ANC bloedneus geslaan toe hy drie metrorade aan die opposisie moes afstaan. Gaan die verdeelde regerende party onder Cyril Ramaphosa kan verenig en in 2019 ’n meerderheid by die stembus behaal? Of gaan die DA en die EFF hul groot ideologiese verskille kan oorkom om die ANC uit die kussings te lig?
Sedert Jacob Zuma as president bedank het, het Suid-Afrika se politieke landskap dramaties verander. Die gesoute politieke joernalis Jan-Jan Joubert kyk na alle moontlike scenario’s en neem die leser agter die skerms na waar die geheime politieke smouswerk plaasvind. Hy oorweeg al die beskikbare opsies vir politieke partye in die aanloop tot die volgende verkiesing. Sal die ANC ’n koalisie vorm om in beheer te bly? En wat is die kans dat dié party na die EFF sal draai om meer steun te werf?
Een ding is seker - ooreenkomste sal aangegaan word. Die uitslae van plaaslike en tusenverkiesings wys vir Joubert dat die volgende verkiesing die eerste in 25 jaar kan wees waarin geen party ’n volstrekte meerderheid behaal nie.
In eksklusiewe onderhoude deel politieke leiers ook hul standpunte oor die belangrikste kwessies wat burgers en partye verdeel – of dalk kan verenig.
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.
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.
South Africans often are deeply polarised in our perspectives of the present and the past. Our ‘ways of seeing’ are fraught with division, and we fail to understand the complexities when we do not see what lies beneath the surface.
There is no denying that the Jacob Zuma presidency took a significant toll on South Africa, exacerbating tensions and exposing the deep fractures that already exist in our society along the lines of race, class and even ethnicity. The Zuma years were marked by cases of corruption and state capture, unprecedented in their brazenness, and increased social protests – many of which were accompanied by violence – aggressive public discourse, lack of respect for reason and an often disturbing resistance to meaningful engagement.
Importantly, those years also placed enormous pressure on our democratic institutions, many of which still bear the scars, and challenged the sovereignty of the Constitution itself.
As an analyst and governance specialist at the Institute for Democracy in South Africa (IDASA) for twelve years, February has had a unique perch. Turning and turning is a snapshot of her IDASA years and the issues tackled, which included work on the arms deal and its corrosive impact on democratic institutions, IDASA’s party-funding campaign, which February helped lead, as well as work on accountability and transparency.
Combining analytical insight with personal observations and experience, February highlights the complex process of building a strong democratic society, and the difficulties of living in a constitutional democracy marked by soaring levels of inequality. There is a need to reflect on and learn from the country’s democratic journey if citizens are to shape our democracy effectively and to fulfill the promise of the Constitution for all South Africans.
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.
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 . . .
RW Johnson's bestselling book How Long Will South Africa Survive? was published at the height of the Zuma presidency. Since then, Cyril Ramaphosa has taken over as president and there have been some attempts to clean up government. But the brief period of 'Ramaphoria' is over and the threat to both the economy and the dream of a non-racial democracy is as real as ever.
As national elections loom, Johnson examines the state of the nation with pinpoint accuracy. On the one hand state-owned institutions are near collapse, municipalities are defunct and civil strife is rampant. On the other, Ramaphosa and his team have come up with a plan to curb corruption and create growth and prosperity.
But will it work?
Only Zapiro can truly capture the craziness and the seriousness of state capture and the Zuma years. WTF is the award-winning and best-selling cartoonist’s definitive, unique and superbly funny record of this rollercoaster time in our history in words and more than 400 brilliant cartoons.
Zapiro’s career has been tightly entwined with the bewildering tale of Jacob Zuma for more than 20 years. He has sharply charted his rise and his fall and everything in between, including the corrupting presence of the Guptas and the destructive cancer of state capture. On two different occasions Jacob Zuma served Zapiro with unfulfilled lawsuits totalling R22 million, claiming his dignity had been infringed, and the cartoonist has been threatened in other ways by senior political figures because of his caustic and brilliant work. Zapiro first drew a showerhead on Zuma in 2006 as a comment on his preposterous evidence during his rape trial that he took a shower after sex to reduce the chance of getting AIDS. That showerhead image stuck in the public imagination, and in Zapiro’s cartoons, and has become a nationally known symbol of the former president.
WTF is sure to be another triumph for our best-loved cartoonist.
The ANC received a bloody nose in the 2016 local elections, when it lost three major metros to the opposition. Will the fractured ruling party be able to reunite under Cyril Ramaphosa and gain a majority at the polls in 2019? Or could the DA and the EFF overcome their vast ideological divide to oust the ANC?
The South African political landscape has changed dramatically since Jacob Zuma stepped down as president. Veteran political journalist Jan-Jan Joubert looks at all the possible scenarios, taking us behind the scenes into a world of political horse trading to analyse the options available to all the parties in the run-up to the next election. Will the oldest liberation movement in Africa have to form a coalition to stay in power? And what is the likelihood of the ANC’s turning to the EFF to bolster its support?
One thing is certain: deals will be done. By examining the results of the local elections, Joubert argues that the 2019 national elections may well be the first in 25 years in which no party wins an outright majority.
In exclusive interviews, political leaders also share their views on the major issues dividing – or perhaps uniting – South Africa today, and point the way to a new political future.
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.
The early years of Zimbabwe’s independence were blighted by conflict and bloodshed, culminating in the Gukurahundi massacres of 1983 and 1984. Historian Stuart Doran explores these events in unprecedented detail, drawing on thousands of previously unpublished documents, including classified records from Mugabe’s Central Intelligence Organisation, apartheid South Africa, the UK, USA, Australia and Canada.
This groundbreaking book charts the development of an intense rivalry between two nationalist parties – Mugabe’s Zanu and Nkomo’s Zapu – and reveals how Zanu’s victory in the 1980 elections was followed by a carefully orchestrated five-year plan, driven by Mugabe, which sought to smash all forms of political opposition and impose a one-party state. Doran shows not only what happened during Zimbabwe’s darkest chapter, but also why this cataclysm occurred. In an expansive narrative saturated with new findings, he documents a culture of political intolerance in which domination and subjugation became the only options, and traces the rise of key proponents of this supremacist ideology.
Kingdom, Power, Glory is the most comprehensive history of Zimbabwe’s formative years and is essential reading for anyone hoping to understand the Mugabe regime, then and now.
A great deal of the revolutionary work that Charles Nqakula undertook as an ANC underground cadre and combatant of Umkhonto we Sizwe was in the Eastern Cape. This book is a well-documented and detailed recollection of those difficult and dangerous times when detention, imprisonment, torture, and even death were always imminent.
It required massive courage and heroism to be part of that array of outstanding leaders and cadres of the revolutionary movements. Readers will be convinced that Charles and his wife/partner Nosiviwe were selfless, dedicated, loyal, disciplined, and brave freedom fighters. This book is noteworthy because Charles remembers, gives due credit, and attaches names to the many comrades who participated in that heroic struggle with him and Nosiviwe. It is difficult to understand and appreciate the dialectical interconnectedness of the individual and the collective. The collective is always more important than the individual but the collective is at the same time the sum total of the individual contributions. In this book, Charles successfully portrays that delicate and complex relationship.
The People’s War describes the work undertaken by Charles and Nosiviwe in the ANC underground and MK units in a dispassionate manner without any self-praise or grandstanding. Charles also recounts how Nosiviwe nearly lost her life in an ambush carried out by Unita on an MK convoy as well as an attempted assassination outside their home in Cyrildene. In the latter chapters of the book, Charles writes about political developments and processes from 1990 up to the present time. He recounts his work as a mediator in the conflicts in Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, and Mauritania, the pain and anguish at the tragic murder of their son, Chumani Siyavuya, and comments on the debilitating challenges of factionalism, election slates, and corruption degrading the integrity, unity, reputation, values, and electoral support of the ANC.
Steve Biko was not only considered a `brilliant political theorist', but is also considered `a formidable and articulate philosopher'. However, Biko is not simply and merely a philosopher in the manner in which Immanuel Kant was a philosopher, but a philosopher of a special kind, an important Africana existential philosopher. In Biko: Philosophy, Identity & Liberation the author adds another commonly ignored perspective on Biko, namely the philosophical dimensions of Biko's thought.
From Biko's writings, speeches and interviews it is easy to notice that in his view, philosophy is not a disembodied system of ideas nor is it a mechanical reflection about the world; rather, it is a way of existing and acting. To be a philosopher, especially an Africana existential philosopher, is not just to hold certain views, it is a way of perceiving and a way of being in the world, what Biko himself describes as `a way of life'.
This important perspective on Biko would be of value to many Africana philosophers of existence, African philosophers, political and social thinkers, social scientists, psychologists, cultural critics, political activists, students, critical race theorists and anyone interested in the ideas that Biko presents.
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