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16 to 20 December 2017 saw most South Africans and political pundits closely observing the African National Congress’s 54th National Elective Conference at Nasrec. There were plenty of international observers and local and foreign press who were closely tracking the ANC top brass and branch delegates as they jostled for political power and position. The air was thick with anticipation and high with suspicion.
Former student activist, member of the then Mitchells Plain Student Congress (Mipsco), COSAS national leader and now ANC member in good standing, Oscar van Heerden once again found himself doing duty in the resolutions drafting team at the ANC’s National Conference. What he witnessed in the period leading up to the conference and then the five days of high drama at Nasrec make for an enthralling and insightful insider’s view. Van Heerden’s observations lay bare a governing party that is at war with itself. At the heart of this struggle is deception, corruption and power-hungry politicians flexing their muscles. Factional infighting, money in bags exchanging hands in the dead of night, spies on duty and a political party in the clutches of state capture are some of the political moves that Van Heerden witnesses and now shares in his book. Van Heerden’s assertion after the first two days of the conference is that the Cyril Ramaphosa camp, also known as CR17, did not stand a chance of winning. To him they seemed disorganised, at times not understanding the modalities of election politics at the conference, and had arrived at the gun fight with a knife.
How then did the tide turn against the obvious pro-Jacob Zuma camp to favour CR17? What really happened behind closed doors to secure the narrow margin of victory?
Walk this journey with Van Heerden and see why, with the upcoming ANC National General Council in June 2020, the fight for our country’s leadership is far from over, begging the question: Will Ramaphosa’s ANC survive?
More than just a story about the personal journey of one of South Africa's most beloved music icons, this extraordinary memoir of PJ Powers - or Thandeka, as she was affectionately renamed by Soweto crowds - is set against the turbulent backdrop of South Africa's recent political history. It features a gallery of political leaders and international celebrities, including the likes of Nelson Mandela, Graga Machel, Chris Hani, Joaquim Chissano, Queen Elizabeth II, Brenda Fassie, Sharon Stone and Robert De Niro.
On Republic Day 1982, a white rock and roll band called Hotline, wearing stonewashed jeans and sporting big hair, took an accidental sho't left into Soweto - a detour that forever changed the life of their lead singer, PJ Powers. Hotline was the first all-white rock and roll band to "cross over" into highly segregated apartheid South Africa, making international headlines in the process. The prolific Powers went on to accomplish extraordinary heights as a solo artist with countless gold and platinum discs.
Here I Am, written with Marianne Thamm, is an intimate and hilarious account of the life and times of one of this country's most recognisable and enduring performers. From the dizzying heights of international stardom to the dark depths of her struggle with alcohol, this is a must-read to explore the heady mix of politics and music of the time.
This book is an account of Paul O'Sullivan's role in helping to not only nail South Africa's most powerful policeman, but also the world's top cop. It is based on thousands of pages of emails, statements, affidavits, letters, press reports, court records and transcripts as well as interviews with O'Sullivan himself. This version provides a perspective from his point of view as a key player in the saga. While O'Sullivan's name consistently appears in almost every key breaking story around the Selebi matter, his role, for whatever reason, has been played down.
The Jackie Selebi story, and the satellite narratives that orbited it, is a truly remarkable chronicle that requires commitment and stamina to grasp fully. There is so much detail, so much subterfuge, lying, dishonesty and cover-up by Selebi and his cronies that it is extremely challenging and almost impossible to pick out one comprehensive, linear thread. The drama played itself out in different layers and strata of South African society, sometimes simultaneously and often in an apparently unrelated fashion. The characters that populate the saga, apart from Jackie Selebi, include the then president of the country, his political rival, myriad crooked, corrupt businessmen, a gallery of rotten, very senior rogue cops, a phalanx of undercover intelligence operatives, two- bit hired guns, scrap metal dealers, drug and human traffickers, international criminal syndicates and a cast of thousands of common-or-garden-variety petty thugs and criminals.
"Sounds like a movie," say most of those who have asked about this project. Yes, but what is startling and disturbing is that this is no fairy-tale. Those of us who have become accustomed to the commodification of crime as "entertainment" in popular television series have this need to make sense of it by blurring fiction with chilling reality.
Paul O'Sullivan is no suave James Bond in a tuxedo, equipped with special equipment, downing his martini surrounded by a bevy of women. When dealing with criminals he can be abrasive, brusque and uncompromising. But who wouldn't be in a world that is populated with real thugs and dangerous killers, people who kill, maim and disrupt law and order and destabilise the country? These are sociopaths and psychopaths who do not care how much harm they cause as they go about their "business". So, what drove or drives O'Sullivan? Revenge? A thirst for justice? It's simple really. Paul O'Sullivan hates criminals and low-lifes like dogs hate flies. His long career in international law enforcement has equipped him with the intellectual and physical tools to deal with the most canny and violent of criminals.
He enjoys hunting them down and, like the radioactive bite that imbues Spiderman with special powers, criminals provide O'Sullivan with an energy and a stamina that seems to grow in proportion to the challenges they present him. His work, he says, is far from done. He is presently attempting to ensure that Czech-born fugitive, Radovan Krejcir, is extradited to his home country to face numerous charges.
Like an apparition, conjured out of the darkness, a young man with light blond hair pushed his face into the car. I immediately spotted the knife. It was a long, thin weapon, almost like a letter opener, with a tapering blade. It felt cold and spiny as he pressed it to my neck. When he spoke his voice, which was quiet and controlled, sounded as though it emanated from a distant planet. But every word thudded into my skull. “Move over or I’ll kill you,” he whispered. And so began Alison’s nightmare journey with the two callous killers who were to rape her, stab her so many times doctors could not count the wounds, slit her throat and leave her for dead in a filthy clearing miles from the city of Port Elizabeth which was her home. But Alison defied death. And more than that, she denied her attackers the satisfaction of destroying her life. I Have Life is the triumphant story of a woman who refused to become a victim. The courage which allowed her to move beyond severe physical and emotional trauma and to turn a devastating experience into something life-affirming and strong, is an inspiration to people everywhere.
How would you like to die? This is the question Craig Schonegevel's brave life anddeath challenge us to ask of ourselves and the society we live in. Is it humane to deny those who suffer from an incurable or life-threatening illness the right to a dignified death? The Last Right is the true story of Craig Schonegevel who suffered from the extremely variable condition known as Neurofibromatosis Type 1. In Craig's case his life was mostly one of operations, pain and suffering and his brave attempts to slay the NF 1 dragon that kept on gnawing at his life and his body. His extraordinary courage in the face of this disease is to be admired and provides some relief from the anguish and sadness that pervades the book. Craig was 28 years old when he decided he had had enough, his symptoms began to worsen and the agony was too much to bear so he sought self-deliverance. The Last Right asks the reader to put themselves in Craig's shoes, to get to know how the disease Neurofibromatosis Type 1 affected him and finally to decide whether they would have considered making the same choice that Craig did. It is the true story of how one family, their friends and the community.
Marianne Thamm delves into her own unconventional life story.
Her German father fought for Hitler and made munitions for Verwoerd. He married her largely illiterate Portuguese mother who worked as a cleaner in England. Today Marianne is the proud mother of two (black) teenagers... Hers is the story of the last century, of the defeat of bigotry and a new era ushered in by Mandela.
Sad at times, deeply moving and, like Marianne, hugely entertaining.
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