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South Africa’s story is often presented as a triumph of new over old, but while formal apartheid was abolished decades ago, stark and distressing similarities persist.
Dr Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh explores the edifice of systemic racial oppression — the new apartheid — that continues to thrive, despite or even because of our democratic system.
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’.
Cops and Robbers: we think we know how to tell the good guys from the bad, but when it comes to Cape Town’s crime scene, things are anything but clear cut. Controlled by gangs, fuelled by drugs and policed by cops that, all too often, get caught on the wrong side of the action.
Among the Cape Town cops who have consistently claimed that colleagues are trying to pin crimes on them are Major General Andre Lincoln (former head of a national police unit mandated by Nelson Mandela), Major General Jeremy Vearey (known as SA’s top gang buster) and Lieutenant Colonel Charl Kinnear (who was investigating some of the country's most brutal underworld crimes when he was assassinated in September 2020). Colleagues and suspects alike pointed to all three as colluding with criminals. Who is telling the truth?
Journalist Caryn Dolley has tracked this tangled trail, following the corruption breadcrumbs, sifting through court documents, laying fact upon fact and exposing the depths and breadth of systemic corruption that was set in place during apartheid and has only become more entrenched during the first decades of our democracy. She has traced the rot from cops to underworld to politicians and back, exposing duplicitous networks that have for decades ensnared South Africa in an expanding cycle of organised crime and cop claim crossfire. At the centre of this crisis is the mounting collateral: the victims of Cape Town’s manufactured killing fields.
To The Wolves tells the true life story of how South Africa’s underworld came to be, what continues to fuel it today and how the deception and lies go all the way to the top...
In 1969, while a student at Wits University, John Schlapobersky was arrested for opposing apartheid and tortured, detained and eventually deported. Interrogated through sleep deprivation, he later wrote secretly in solitary confinement about the struggle for survival.
In this exquisitely written memoir, written half a century after the event, the author reflects on the singing of the condemned prisoners, the poetry, songs and texts that saw him through his ordeal, and its impact.
He transformed his life - guided by a sense of hope - working as a psychotherapist with a continuing focus on rehabilitation with others. Apartheid and its resistance come to life in this story to make it a vital historical document, one of its time and one for our own.
In The Great Pretenders: Race and Class under ANC Rule, veteran political analyst Ebrahim Harvey delivers a stinging critique of the ANC. This must-read analysis reveals the complete failure of the ANC to roll back the race and class divide.
Harvey argues that a series of events – including HIV/AIDS denialism, the Marikana shootings, the Nkandla funding scandal, mass student protests, the Esidemeni tragedy, systemic corruption and state capture – are rooted in policy choices made by the ANC during negotiations and in power. This book is not just an evisceration of the ANC, however, as Harvey is able, through many interviews and patient delving into the past and present, to provide an indispensable guide to the future.
The Great Pretenders is fierce, passionate and provocative. It is certain to provoke those in power, stirring debate on not only the pernicious issue of race relations in South Africa, but on how to create the shared society promised us.
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.
She knew she might lose her job as group treasurer, yet Cynthia Stimpel decided to blow the whistle anyway. She simply could not keep quiet about an irregular deal of R256 million at South African Airways on Dudu Myeni's watch. It was not an easy decision, but 'the right one'.
Cynthia was on a pilgrimage in France when she received word that a dodgy deal between BNP Capital and SAA was signed against her strict orders. She immediately sent a whistleblowing message to National Treasury and raised the alarm in an attempt to stop the deal. Although she succeeded in saving SAA millions she paid a high price for speaking the truth; She lost her job and her reputation. Yet her battle against Myeni and her fellow state capturers at the SAA was far from over. She still had to face Myeni in court and testify against her at the Zondo Commission.
This is a very personal state capture story that shows how one brave individual helped to stop the rot.
‘Wathint’ Abafazi, Wathint’ Imbokodo’ – You strike the women, you strike the rock.
From the construction of gender under apartheid South Africa, to the impact of the pass laws, this book examines how history has shaped the conditions of women today. The book contributes to and extends the narrative of gender issues beyond the women’s march of 1956, and highlights and celebrates the important ways in which women have organised and continue to work around these socio-economic issues.
When we say we want to be safe, what do we mean? Is the state capable of achieving this for us? These are important questions for anyone envisioning and building a future anywhere, but especially in South Africa. This book explores contemporary South African society through the lens of law and order, and with the goal of understanding what reform must look like going forward, in a way that is accessible to ordinary citizens who need this most.
In South Africa, both ‘crime’ and ‘safety’ are loaded terms. Ziyanda Stuurman unpacks the complex and fraught history of policing, courts and prisons in South Africa. In her analysis of the problems nationally and in putting those problems in context with the rest of the world, she concludes that more resources won’t necessarily lead to more safety. What then, will?
Ziyanda unpacks this complex question deftly with a view of a better future for us all.
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.
If you reckon corruption in South Africa began with Zuma or even with apartheid, it’s time to catch a wake-up call. Rogues’ Gallery tells the story of some of the biggest skelms to grace our (un)fair shores, showing that dodgy dealings have been a national pastime for as long as South African history has been written down.
The action starts with the machinations of three colonial governors: rotten Willem Adriaan van der Stel and the ‘twaddling’ British duo, Sir George Yonge and Lord Charles Somerset. Added to this is Cecil John Rhodes’s unparalleled success in poisoning the land with theft, fraud and war, and Oom Paul Kruger’s corrupt and compromised Volksraads (official and unofficial). Readers are then treated to apartheid’s finest feats in corruption: from the Broederbond’s perfect ten in state capture to the Department of Information’s peddling of fake news and the apartheid state’s manufacture of – no, not illegal cigarettes – Class A drugs! And let’s not forget the hotbed of corruption that was the ‘independent’ homelands. Add to this a few murders, plenty of nepotism and a state president who started out as a Nazi spy, and the gallery of rogues is complete. On the flipside, every chapter also features at least one brave whistle-blower – the true heroes of this book.
Irreverent, entertaining and impeccably researched, Rogues’ Gallery busts the myth that the Zuptas were the first to capture the South African state, showing that corruption has always been around – and that the tricks politicians play haven’t changed a jot.
The inside story of South Africa’s worst military scandal since apartheid
‘A powerful cocktail of searing front-line war reportage, investigative journalism, and history… with echoes of Black Hawk Down, of Rorke’s Drift, and of Heart of Darkness’ – Andrew Harding, BBC foreign correspondent and author
In March 2013, South Africa suffered its worst military defeat since the end of apartheid. After a battle that lasted almost two days, 200 crack troops who engaged 7 000 rebels in the Central African Republic were forced to negotiate a ceasefire at their base. Thirteen South African soldiers died in the battle, with two more later succumbing to their wounds.
The mission was shrouded in mystery from the start. The deployment and the diplomatic machinations that led to it were kept secret from the South African public and Parliament. So, too, were an assortment of shadowy commercial interests held by businessmen, some with close ties to the African National Congress. In an investigation spanning more than seven years, the authors gained exclusive access to the soldiers who fought valiantly against overwhelming odds; travelled to Bangui to obtain documentation and meet the rebel leaders who took part in the battle; interviewed a deposed dictator living in exile in Paris; and spoke to the widows of the fallen soldiers. They also met influential fixers and dealmakers, and unearthed secret files containing bribe agreements to unravel an intricate web of corruption and patronage reaching the highest echelons of power in South Africa and the CAR.
After close to a decade of speculation and rumour, The Battle of Bangui lays bare for the first time both the litany of strategic, tactical and logistical blunders that ended in military disaster, and the secret diplomatic and commercial deals that led to South Africa’s worst foreign misadventure of the democratic era. It’s also a cracking war story filled with heroism, camaraderie, terror, pathos and triumph over adversity.
Cognisant of the globalising context in which we find ourselves, as intellectuals we ought to ensure relevance in what we teach. This orientation, that prizes pedagogic relevance, has been raised as an objection to the decolonial call, being – at times – used to resist democratic change in the South African University. The contributions in this volume highlight the implications of the global relevance discourse through revealing the impact of decontextualised curricula.
Similarly, institutional democratisation and decolonisation ought not to be a turn to fundamentalist positions that recreate the essentialisms resisted through calls for decolonisation. As a critical response to such resistance to democratisation, this book showcases how decolonisation protects the constitutionally enshrined ideal of academic freedom and the freedom of scientific research. We argue that this framing of decoloniality should not be used to protect interests that seek to undermine the transformation of higher education. Concurrently, however, it is critical of decolonial positions that are essentialist and narrow in their manifestation and articulation.
Decolonisation as Democratisation suggests what is intended by a curriculum revisionist agenda that prizes decolonisation through bringing together academics working in South Africa and the global academy. This collaborative approach aims to facilitate critical reflexivity in our curriculum reform strategies while developing pragmatic solutions to current calls for decolonisation.
In the 1990s, deep-cover police agent RS536 took on the Durban underworld as part of a new organised crime intelligence unit. He rubbed shoulders with drug lords, smugglers and corrupt cops, and was instrumental in busting an international drug ring and foiling a bank heist, among many other dangerous engagements.
But then, as the country’s new democracy birthed a struggle between the old and the new guard in the South African Police Service, his identity and his life came under threat. In this action-packed account, Johann van Loggerenberg describes how, as a young policeman, he worked closely with the investigative team of the Goldstone Commission to uncover the ‘third force’ – apartheid security forces that supplied weapons to the Inkatha Freedom Party to destabilise the country.
He also delves into how and why, at the height of state capture at the South African Revenue Service in 2014, he was falsely accused of being an apartheid spy, a lie that persists up to today. Here, finally, is the truth behind deep-cover police agent RS536.
Land reform and the possibility of expropriation without compensation are among the most hotly debated topics in South Africa today, met with trepidation and fervour in equal measure. But these broader issues tend to obscure a more immediate reality: a severe housing crisis and a sharp increase in urban land occupations.
In Promised Land, Karl Kemp travels the country documenting the fallout of failing land reform, from the under-siege Philippi Horticultural Area deep in the heart of Cape Town’s ganglands to the burning mango groves of Tzaneen, from Johannesburg’s lawless Deep South to rural KwaZulu-Natal, where chiefs own vast tracts of land on behalf of their subjects. He visits farming communities beset by violent crime, and provides gripping, on-the-ground reporting of recent land invasions, with perspectives from all sides, including land activists, property owners and government officials. Kemp also looks at burning issues surrounding the land debate in South Africa – corruption, farm murders, illegal foreign labour, mechanisation and eviction – and reveals the views of those affected.
Touching on the history of land conflict and conquest in each area, as well as detailing the current situation on the ground, Promised Land provides startling insights into the story of land conflict in South Africa.
South Africa’s democracy is often seen as a story of bright beginnings gone astray, a pattern said to be common to Africa. The negotiated settlement of 1994, it is claimed, ended racial domination and created the foundation for a prosperous democracy – but greedy politicians betrayed the promise of a new society.
In Prisoners Of The Past, Steven Friedman astutely argues that this misreads the nature of contemporary South Africa. Building on the work of the economic historian Douglass North and the political thinker Mahmood Mamdani, Friedman shows that South African democracy’s difficulties are legacies of the pre-1994 past. The settlement which ushered in majority rule left intact core features of the apartheid economy and society. The economy continues to exclude millions from its benefits, while racial hierarchies have proved stubborn: apartheid is discredited, but the values of the pre-1948 colonial era, the period of British colonisation, still dominate. Thus South Africa’s democracy supports free elections, civil liberties and the rule of law, but also continues past patterns of exclusion and domination.
Friedman reasons that this ‘path dependence’ is not, as is often claimed, the result of constitutional compromises in 1994 that left domination untouched. This bargain was flawed because it brought not too much compromise, but too little. Compromises extended political citizenship to all but there were no similar bargains on economic and cultural change. Using the work of the radical sociologist Harold Wolpe, Friedman shows that only negotiations on a new economy and society can free South Africans from the prison of the past.
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.
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.
Between 1913 and 1989 some four million South Africans were forcibly removed from their homes to enforce residential segregation along racial lines. This study records and interprets the memories of some of the Capetonians who were relocated as a result of the infamous Group Areas Act.
Former resients of Windermere, Tramway Road in Sea Point, District Six, Lower Claremont, and Simon's Town narrate their experiences. The work shows how different - even conflicting - versions of popular memories are historically significant for individuals and communities, and for the professionals and academics who work with them.
Most important, it demonstrates how the sharing of oral histories and memories allows people to rebuild a sense of self and community.
‘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?
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.
Forgiveness Redefined is Candice Mama’s honest and healing story. It tells how she found ways to deal with the death of her father, Glenack Masilo Mama, and to forgive the notorious apartheid assassin Eugene de Kock, the man responsible for his brutal murder. We follow Candice’s journey of discovering how her father died, how this affected her and how she battled the demons of depression before the age of sixteen. But most importantly, we follow her journey towards beating the odds and rising above her heartbreaks.
Candice Mama is today still under the age of 30, but has been named as one of Vogue Paris’ most inspiring women alongside glittering names such as Michelle Obama. She has taken backstage selfies with music crooner Seal and travels all over the world to talk about her journey. This bubbly, inspiring young author tells how she shed some of the worst layers of grief and became an inspiration for others. We learn about her perplexing, unconventional childhood, her search for identity, and the beautiful bond she formed, posthumously, with a father she never had the opportunity to get to know in person. She also tells, in her own words, about the life-changing encounter between her family and her father’s killer.
Candice tenderly opens up about the result of the trauma of her father’s death on her entire family, and meeting her mother for the first time at the age of four. She tells about the confusing, yet fascinating, dynamics that later unfolded as she discovered pieces of herself, rediscovered relationships with her own family and came to forgiveness and understanding.
This book serves as inspiration for other young – and older – people to look at their own stories through different lenses. Candice’s experiences are not unique, and she offers healing thoughts to others who suffered similar trauma by sharing the details of her own story. Forgiveness Redefined is a touching, personal story by a young woman who learned too early about pain, loss and rejection – but who also learned how to overcome those burdens and live joyfully.
In 1937 a group of young Capetonians, socialist intellectuals from the Workers’ Party of South Africa and the Non-European Unity Movement, embarked on a remarkable public education and cultural project they called the New Era Fellowship (NEF). Through public debates, lectures, study circles and cultural events a new cultural and political project was born in Cape Town. Taking a position of non-collaboration and non-racialism, the NEF played a vital role in challenging society’s responses to events ranging from the problem of taking up arms during the Second World War for an empire intent on stripping people of colour of their human rights, to the Hertzog Bills, which foreshadowed apartheid in all its ruthless effectiveness.
The group included some of the city’s most talented scholar-activists, among them Isaac Tabata, Ben Kies, A C Jordan, Phyllis Ntantala, Mda Mda and members of the famed Gool and Abdurahman families. Their aim was to disrupt and challenge not only prevailing political narratives but the very premises – class and race – on which they were based.
By the 1950s their ideas had spread to a second generation of talented individuals who would disseminate them in the high schools of Cape Town. In time, some would exert their influence on national politics beyond the confines of the Cape. Among these were former minister of justice, Dullah Omar, academic Hosea Jaffe, educationist Neville Alexander and author Richard Rive.
This book is a testament to how the NEF was at the forefront of redefining the discourse of racialism and nationalism in South Africa.
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.
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.
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