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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.
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.
Perhaps the most explosive issue in South Africa today is the question of land ownership. The central theme in this country’s colonial history is the dispossession of indigenous African societies by white settlers, and current calls for land restitution are based on this loss. Yet popular knowledge of the actual process by which Africans were deprived of their land is remarkably sketchy.
This book recounts an important part of this history, describing how the Khoisan and Xhosa people were dispossessed and subjugated from the time that Europeans first arrived until the end of the Cape Frontier Wars (1779–1878).
The Land Wars traces the unfolding hostilities involving Dutch and British colonial authorities, trekboers and settlers, and the San, Khoikhoin, Xhosa, Mfengu and Thembu people – as well as conflicts within these groups. In the process it describes the loss of land by Africans to successive waves of white settlers as the colonial frontier inexorably advanced. The book does not shy away from controversial issues such as war atrocities on both sides, or the expedient decision of some of the indigenous peoples to fight alongside the colonisers rather than against them.
The Land Wars is an epic story, featuring well-known figures such as Ngqika, Lord Charles Somerset and his son, Henry, Andries Stockenström, Hintsa, Harry Smith, Sandile, Maqoma, Bartle Frere and Sarhili, and events such as the arrival of the 1820 Settlers and the Xhosa cattlekilling. It is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand South Africa’s past and present.
In September 2019, Cape Town–based entrepreneur Jarette Petzer posted a video on Facebook. It was an emotional recognition of the difficulties faced by South Africa, as well as a heartfelt plea to nurture everything he loves about this country. Friends suggested that Petzer start a Facebook page to continue the conversation, and #ImStaying was born.
Within weeks, 400 000 South Africans of every race, socio-economic and political background joined the page to tell their stories of everyday life – of beauty, of hardship and the magnificence of their fellow citizens – and to share stories across cultural barriers, which many had never crossed before. By the end of December 2019, the page had more than a million followers, and it continues to grow.
Adhering to the maxim ‘Good Thoughts. Good Words. Good Deeds.’, #ImStaying is about South Africans creating social cohesion through storytelling – reaching out to each other to inspire real change in the country they love and want to see succeed, and shaping a new future out of a painful past.
This book provides another platform for the diverse voices and stories of the #ImStaying movement, as well as giving an overview of how this uniquely South African group came about and why it’s so important.
If a mere seven more MPs had voted with Prime Minister JBM Hertzog in favour of neutrality, South Africa’s history would have been quite different.
Parliament’s narrow decision to go to war in 1939 led to a seismic upheaval throughout the 1940s: black people streamed in their thousands from rural areas to the cities in search of jobs; volunteers of all races answered the call to go ‘up north’ to fight; and opponents of the Smuts government actively hindered the war effort by attacking soldiers and committing acts of sabotage. World War Two upended South Africa’s politics, ruining attempts to forge white unity and galvanising opposition to segregation among African, Indian and coloured communities. It also sparked debates among nationalists, socialists, liberals and communists such as the country had never previously experienced.
As Richard Steyn recounts so compellingly in 7 Votes, the war’s unforeseen consequence was the boost it gave to nationalism, both Afrikaner and African, that went on to transform the country in the second half of the 20th century. The book brings to life an extraordinary cast of characters, including wartime leader Jan Smuts, DF Malan and his National Party colleagues, African nationalists from Anton Lembede and AB Xuma to Walter Sisulu and Nelson Mandela, the influential Indian activists Yusuf Dadoo and Monty Naicker, and many others.
Where is South Africa going now? And where will South Africa be in five years’ time? Much has been written about the country’s past, but is enough thought being given to its future? Is South Africa in danger of again losing its way, given its pressing socio-economic challenges?
Prominent economist Raymond Parsons has drawn together a powerful collection of expert thinkers, economists and analysts who tackle these issues head on as well as offering timely solutions to several of South Africa’s most pressing problems, drawing key lessons from the past in crystallising what South Africa needs to do to create a better future.
After the so-called ‘lost decade’ under the Zuma administration, South Africans had high hopes that President Ramaphosa would deliver on his promise of a ‘new dawn’. Yet despite high expectations that the country would finally turn the corner and settle onto a path of stronger inclusive growth and better governance, socioeconomic conditions have deterioriated. Growth remains negligible, unemployment has worsened and the fiscus is under considerable strain. Will SA be able to break out of its present ‘growth trap’ without falling into a ‘debt trap’?
The country is also facing global headwinds in the form of volatile market conditions, shifting geopolitics, and a fast-changing and disruptive technological landscape which threatens to leave all but the most well-prepared behind. So how must the different strands of policy – ranging from purely economic issues to broader questions around education and the rule of law – now knit together to create a bigger, stronger and better SA economy in future?
If the vision of a well-functioning society is to be realised, policy uncertainty about the road ahead must be generally tackled at the highest level to facilitate job-rich growth. And business and civil society, in its turn, must take a long-term view of South Africa’s future and commit energy and resources to bringing about change which is both productive and transformational.
Recession, Recovery & Reform will offer compelling new insights into how South Africa can unlock its potential in the years ahead. The publication of this title a month ahead of the ANC policy conference in June 2020, at which President Ramaphosa’s political and economic ‘track record’ will be widely assessed, ensures it will be a must-read for all who are concerned about South Africa’s well-being and who are willing to believe that a ‘new dawn’ is indeed possible.
Like so many of her generation, Lwando Xaso came of age alongside the beginnings and growth of South Africa’s constitutional democracy. Her journey into adulthood was a radically different one from that of earlier generations, marked by hope that changing perceptions would usher in a new and free society.
Made in South Africa – A Black Woman’s Stories of Rage, Resistance and Progress is a vibrant collection of essays in which Lwando examines with incisive clarity some of the events that have shaped her experience of South Africa – a country with huge potential but weighed down by persistent racism and inequality, cultural appropriation, sexism and corruption, all legacies of a complicated history.
As a young lawyer intent on climbing the corporate ladder, Lwando’s life’s direction was changed by a personal experience of the oppressive capacity of a supposedly democratic government when it unjustly fired a close family friend and mentor from a senior government position. She found herself on his legal team and the turmoil the case created within her led her to further her studies in constitutional law, and to pick up her pen and share with a wider audience her views of what was happening in her beloved country.
Her outlook was further shaped by her experience of clerking at the Constitutional Court for Justice Edwin Cameron, which deepened her respect for the South African Constitution, and what it really means for a resilient people to strive continually to live up to its moral and legal standards.
Lwando’s writing reflects her unflinching resolve to live according to the precepts of our groundbreaking Constitution and offers a challenge to all South Africans to believe in and achieve ‘the improbable’.
Patrick van Rensburg (1931-2017) was an anti-apartheid activist and self-made 'alternative educationist' whose work received international recognition with the Right Livelihood Award in 1981. Born in KwaZulu-Natal into what he described as a 'very ordinary South African family that believed in the virtue of racism', Van Rensburg became a self-styled rebel who tirelessly pursued his own vision of a brighter future for emerging societies in post-colonial southern Africa.
His emotional and intellectual struggle against his upbringing and cultural roots led him to reject his life of white privilege in South Africa. Determined to prevent the emergence of a privileged black elite in post-colonial society, he devoted his life to implementing an alternative, egalitarian approach to education, focusing on quality and functional schooling for the majority. Rewarded with the internationally prestigious Right Livelihood Award for his unique contribution to education, he saw this work as a 'necessary tool of development'.
Exiled from South Africa in 1960 because of his involvement in the London boycott campaign that gave birth to the Anti-Apartheid Movement, Van Rensburg moved to Botswana (then Bechuanaland). There he founded cooperatives, provided vocational training and was among the earliest educationists to espouse the discipline of development studies. Perhaps his best-known legacy is the Swaneng Hill School, which he founded to provide an educational home for primary school 'dropouts' through a curriculum that combined theory and practice, and academic and manual labour. He involved his pupils in building their school, running it, providing their own food, and making their own equipment and furniture.
Van Rensburg was an innovative and charismatic visionary who captured the zeitgeist of the late twentieth century, and whose work and vision still have resonance for debates in educational policy today.
Whistleblowers are seldom seen as heroes. Instead, they are often viewed through a negative lens, described as troublemakers, disloyal employees, traitors, snitches and, in South Africa, as impimpis or informers. They risk denigration and scorn, not to mention dismissal from their positions and finding their careers in tatters.
With corruption and fraud endemic in democratic South Africa, whistleblowers have played a pivotal role in bringing wrongdoing to light. They have provided an invaluable service to society through disclosures about cover-ups, malfeasance and wrongdoing. Their courageous acts have resulted in the recovery of millions of rands to the fiscus and to their fellow citizens as well as improved transparency and accountability for office bearers and politicians. Some would argue it was whistleblowing that brought down a president and the corrupt ‘state capture’ regime.
But in most cases, the outcomes for the whistleblowers themselves are harrowing and devastating. Some have been gunned down in orchestrated assassinations, others have been threatened and targeted in sinister dirty-tricks campaigns. Many are hounded out of their jobs, ostracised and victimised. They struggle to find employment and are pushed to the fringes of society. Where there is litigation, this drags on and on through the courts. Mental health and relationships suffer. The psychological burden of choosing to speak up when there has been little reward or compensation is a heavy one to carry.
The Whistleblowers shines a light on their plight, advocating for a change in legislation, organisational support and social attitudes in order to embolden more potential whistleblowers to have the courage to step up. These are the raw and evocative accounts of South Africa’s whistleblowers, told in their own voices and from their own perspectives: from the hallowed corridors of parliament to the political killing fields of KwaZulu-Natal, from the fraud-riddled platinum belt to the impoverished, gang-ridden suburb of Elsies River, from the gantried freeways of Gauteng to the Bosasa blesser’s facebrick campus in Krugersdorp, from the wild east of Mpumalanga to the corporate
This book offers an innovative, interdisciplinary approach to thinking about inequality, and to understanding how inequality is produced and reproduced in the global South.
Without the safety net of the various Northern welfare states, inequality in the global South is not merely a socio-economic problem, but an existential threat to the social contract that underpins the democratic state and society itself. Only a response that is firrmly grounded in the context of the global South can hope to address this problem. This collection brings together scholars from across the global South to address broad thematic areas such as the conceptual and methodological challenges of measuring inequality; the political economy of inequality; inequality in work, households and the labour market; and inequalities in land, spaces and cities. The book concludes by suggesting alternatives for addressing inequality in the global South and around the world.
The pioneering ideas and theories put forward by this volume make it essential reading for students and researchers of global inequality across the fields of sociology, economics, law, politics, global studies and development studies.
In The Lie of 1652, influential blogger and history activist Mellet retells and debunks established precolonial and colonial land dispossession history. He provides a radically new, fresh perspective on South African history and highlights 176 years of San/Khoi colonial resistance.
Contextualising the cultural mix of the Cape, he recounts the history of forced and voluntary migration to the Cape by Africans, Indians, Southeast Asians, Europeans and the African Diaspora in a new way.
This provocative, novel perspective on 'Colouredness' also provides a highly topical new look at the burning issue of land, and how it was lost.
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.
Cadre deployment means that the ANC and the state are inextricably intertwined. In KwaZulu-Natal, which has long been the powder keg of South Africa, it’s a monster that means people of competing patronage networks are killing each other for a place at the trough – for jobs and tenders – and the taxi industry provides the hitmen, guns and the transport.
Travel with journalist Greg Ardé across KwaZulu-Natal into the dark heart of South Africa and the ANC’s ‘culture of blood’.
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.
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.
1 Recce: Behind Enemy Lines takes the reader into the ‘inner sanctum’ of the Recces. In their own words, Recce operators recount some of the life-threatening operations they conducted under great secrecy in the late 1970s.
Those who were there give first-hand accounts of the tension, anticipation, fear, adrenalin, exhaustion, thirst and grief they experienced, but also of the humorous moments and the close bonds of friendship that were forged in situations of mortal danger.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Twenty-five years have passed since South Africans were being shot, hacked or burned to death in political conflict. The memory of the trauma has faded where some 20 500 people were killed between 1984 and 1994. Conventional wisdom claims that they died at the hands of a state-backed Third Force. The more accurate explanation is that they died as a result of the people’s war the ANC unleashed.
After the people’s war began in September 1984, intimidation and political killings rapidly accelerated. At the same time, a remarkably effective propaganda campaign put the blame for violence on the National Party government and its alleged Inkatha surrogate. Sympathy for the ANC soared, while its rivals suffered crippling losses in credibility and support. By 1993 the ANC was able to dominate the negotiating process, as well as to control the militarily undefeated police and army and bend them to its will. By May 1994 it had trounced its rivals and taken over government. Many books have been written on South Africa's political transition, but none deals adequately with the people's war. This book does. It shows the extraordinary success of the people’s war in giving the ANC a virtual monopoly on power, as well as the great cost at which this was done. Apart from the terror and killings it sparked, the people’s war set in motion forces that cannot easily be tamed. Contemporary South Africa and the problems it confronts cannot be fully understood without a knowledge of the scars and damaging legacy of the people’s war.
For this new edition of her seminal work, Anthea Jeffery has revised and abridged her book. She has also included a brief overview of the ANC’s National Democratic Revolution, for which the people’s war was intended to prepare the way. Since 1994, the NDR has incrementally been implemented in many different spheres. It is also now being speeded up in its current and more ‘radical’ phase.
The notion that societies mediate issues through certain kinds of engagement is at the heart of the democratic project and often centres on an imagined public sphere where this takes place. But this imagined foundation of how we live collectively appears to have suffered a dramatic collapse across the world in the digital age, with many democracies apparently unable to solve problems through talk - or even to agree on who speaks, in what ways and where. In this timely and erudite collection, writers from southern Africa combine theoretical analysis with the examination of historical cases and contemporary events to demonstrate that forms of publicness are multiple, mobile and varied.
Drawing primarily on insights and materials from Africa for their capacity to speak to global developments, the authors in this volume propose new concepts and methodologies to analyse how public engagements work in society. The contributions examine charged examples from the Global South, such as the centuries old Timbuktu archive, Nelson Mandela's powerful absent presence in 1960s public life, and the contemporary debates around the 2015/2016 student activism of #rhodesmustfall and #feesmustfall. These cases show how issues of public discussion circulate in unpredictable ways.
Babel Unbound will be of interest to anyone looking to find alternative ways of thinking about publicness in contemporary society in order to make better sense of the cacophony of conversations in circulation.
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.
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