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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.
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.
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.
For most of its existence, the ANC Youth League has played a
powerful role in the politics of the ANC, and therefore of South
Africa. This book tells the history of the ANC Youth League, from
its formation in 1944 to the present day.
This is the go-to guide for confused South Africans and all those seeking an informed, balanced and up-to-date analysis of South African politics and society in the Ramaphosa era.
When Nelson Mandela emerged from decades in jail to preach reconciliation, South Africans appeared to many as a people reborn as the Rainbow Nation. Yet, a quarter of a century later, the country sank into bitter recriminations and rampant corruption under Jacob Zuma. Why did this happen, and how was hope betrayed? President Cyril Ramaphosa, hoping to heal these wounds, was re-elected in May 2019 with the ANC hoping to claw back support lost to the opposition in the Zuma era. This book analyses this election, shedding light on voters’ choices.
With chapters on all the major issues at stake – from education to land redistribution – Understanding South Africa offers insights into Africa’s largest and most diversified economy, closely tied to its neighbours’ fortunes.
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.
‘Dancing a tango with death’ was the daily life of the DCC – the Directorate of Covert Collection – secret agents, working in what JJ ‘Tolletjie’ Botha called ‘hostile countries’. Who were these men? Airline pilots, Belgian missionaries, German industrialists, engineers, medical doctors, high-ranking officers of enemy countries and last, but not least, people like a well-known Namibian lawyer and a famous, internationally acclaimed South African singer; people who, sometimes unwittingly, collaborated with the ‘shadow’s men’, believing they were helping friendly countries … Did the document prepared by General Pierre Steyn, the famous topsecret Steyn Report, really exist?
In this book you will find the full original document whose existence has been denied by FW de Klerk and his closest allies. Did Judge Richard Goldstone act bona fide by accepting in his final report the information given to him by Counter Intelligence and the NIS, information that, at the very end, emerged as “hearsay”? Was Judge Goldstone aware of the final objective of the tandem pair Steyn-De Klerk to decapitate the South African Defence Force?
Did the top structure of the DCC maintain close contacts with most of the Western intelligence services, and particularly the British MI6? Was any one of the hundreds of civilian and military men ‘listed’ as part of the infamous Third Force ever condemned? Was Staal Burger or Ferdi Barnard really part of the DCC or were they ‘imposed’ by the then Chief of the Army, General Kat Liebenberg? Did you know that more than half the African members of the first Mandela cabinet had been on the DCC’s payroll? Why did the Motsuenyane Commission of Enquiry have to suspend its search, and never published the list of ANC members massacred or disappeared, victims of their own comrades?
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.
Democracy Works asks how we can learn to nurture, deepen and consolidate democracy in Africa. By analyzing transitions within and beyond the continent, the authors identify a 'democratic playbook' robust enough to withstand threats to free and fair elections. However, substantive democracy demands more than just regular polls. It is fundamentally about the inner workings of institutions, the rule of law, separation of powers, checks and balances, and leadership in government and civil society. It is also about values and the welfare and well-being of its citizens, and demands local leadership with a plan for the country beyond simply winning the popular vote.
This volume addresses the political, economic and extreme demographic challenges that Africa faces. It is intended as a resource for members of civil society and as a guide for all who seek to enjoy the political and development benefits of democracy in the world's poorest continent. Finally, it is for donors and external actors who have to face critical decisions--especially after ill-fated electoral interventions such as Kenya 2017--about the future of observer missions and aid promoting democracy and good governance.
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?
The 2017 publication of Betrayal of the Promise, the report that detailed the systematic nature of state capture, marked a key moment in South Africa's most recent struggle for democracy. In the face of growing evidence of corruption and of the weakening of state and democratic institutions, it provided, for the first time, a powerful analysis of events that helped galvanise resistance within the Tripartite Alliance and across civil society.
Working often secretly, the authors consolidated, for the first time, large amounts of evidence from a variety of sources. They showed that the Jacob Zuma administration was not simply a criminal network but part of an audacious political project to break the hold of whites and white business on the economy and to create a new class of black industrialists. State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) such as Eskom and Transnet were central to these plans. The report introduced a whole new language to discuss state capture, showing how SOEs were `repurposed', how political power was shifting away from constitutional bodies to `kitchen cabinets', and how a `shadow state' at odds with the country's constitutional framework was being built.
Shadow State is an updated version of the original, explosive report that changed South Africa's recent history.
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.
"What are democracies meant to do? And how does one know when one is a democratic state?" These incisive questions and more by leading political scientist, Steven Friedman, underlie this robust enquiry into what democracy means for South Africa post 1994.
Democracy and its prospects are often viewed through a lens which reflects the dominant Western understanding. New democracies are compared to idealised notions of the way in which the system is said to operate in the global North. The democracies of Western Europe and North America are understood to be the finished product and all others are assessed by how far they have progressed towards approximating this model. The goal of new democracies, like South Africa and other developing nation-states, is thus to become like the global North.
Power in Action persuasively argues against this stereotype. Friedman asserts that democracies can only work when every adult has an equal say in the public decisions that affect them. From this point of view, democracies are not finished products and some nations in the global South may be more democratic than their Northern counterparts. Democracy is achieved not by adopting idealised models derived from other societies – rather, it is the product of collective action by citizens who claim the right to be heard not only through public protest action, but also through the conscious exercise of influence on public and private power holders.
Viewing democracy in this way challenges us to develop a deeper understanding of democracy’s challenges and in so doing to ensure that more citizens can claim a say over more decisions in society.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 . . .
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.
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.
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?
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