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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.
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