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John Kane-Berman is uniquely qualified to look back over the enormous political and social changes that have taken place in his lifetime in this fractious country. In his career as student leader, Rhodes Scholar, newspaperman, independent columnist, speech maker, commentator, and Chief Executive, for thirty years, of the South African Institute of Race Relations, Kane-Berman has been at the coal face of political change in South Africa.
The breadth and depth of ideas and events covered here are striking: the disintegration of apartheid, the chaos of the ‘people’s war’ and its contribution to the broader societal breakdown we see today, the liberal slide-away, the authoritarian ANC with its racial ideology and revolutionary goals, to mention only a few. Kane-Berman’s willingness to confront received wisdom is thoroughly refreshing, and he is forthright about the threats to freedom, democracy, and growth in contemporary South Africa, many of which he identified even before the ANC came to power.
Writing, debate, and reasoned argument have been Kane-Berman’s stock in trade and his clarity of vision and personal insight have created a memoir of rare candour and absorbing interest.
In the first half of the nineteenth century, Southern Africa was a jumble of British colonies, Boer republics and African chiefdoms, a troublesome region of little interest to the outside world. Into this frontier world came the Reitz family, Afrikaner gentry from the Cape, who settled in Bloemfontein and played a key role in the building of the Orange Free State.
Frank Reitz, successively chief justice and modernising president of the young republic, went on to serve as State Secretary of the Transvaal Republic. In 1899, he stood shoulder to shoulder with President Paul Kruger to resist Britain’s war of conquest in Southern Africa. At the heart of this tale is the extraordinary life of Deneys Reitz, third son of Frank Reitz and Bianca Thesen. The young Reitz’s account of his adventures in the field during the Anglo-Boer War (1899–1902), published as Commando, became a classic of irregular warfare. After a period of exile in Madagascar, he went on become one of South Africa’s most distinguished lawyers, statesmen and soldiers. Martin Meredith interweaves Reitz’s experiences, taken from his unpublished notebooks, with the wider story of Britain’s brutal suppression of Boer resistance.
Concise and readable, Afrikaner Odyssey is a wide-ranging portrait of an aristocratic Afrikaner family whose achievements run like fine thread through these turbulent times, and whose presence is still marked on the South African landscape.
Without much fanfare Ahmed Kathrada worked alongside Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and other giants in the struggle to end racial discrimination in South Africa. He faced house arrest and many court trials related to his activism until, finally, a trial for sabotage saw him sentenced to life imprisonment alongside Mandela and six others.
Conversations with a Gentle Soul has its origins in a series of discussions between Kathrada and Sahm Venter about his opinions, encounters and experiences. Throughout his life, Kathrada has refused to hang on to negative emotions such as hatred and bitterness. Instead, he radiates contentment and the openness of a man at peace with himself. His wisdom is packaged within layers of optimism, mischievousness and humour, and he provides insights that are of value to all South Africans.
A vivid story of the men and women who took a stand when sport mixed with politics.
In 1971, when the racially selected all-white Springbok rugby team toured Australia, it became a nation at war with itself. There was bloodshed as tens of thousands of anti-apartheid campaigners clashed with governments, police, and rugby fans - who were given free reign to assault protestors. Queensland premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen declared a state of emergency. Prime minister William McMahon called the Wallabies who refused to play 'national disgraces'. Barbed wire ringed the great rugby grounds to stop protestors invading the field.
Pitched Battle recreates what became of the most rancorous periods in modern Australian history - a time of courage, pain, faith, fanaticism, and political opportunism - which ultimately made heroes of the seven Wallabies who refused to play, played a key role in the later political careers of Peter Beattie, Meredith Burgmann, and Peter Hain, and ultimately led to the abandonment of apartheid.
Jan Christiaan Smuts was ’n soldaat, staatsman, intellektueel en een van Suid-Afrika se grootste leiers. Tog word daar vandag min oor hom gepraat of geskryf, al beleef ons tans skynbaar ’n leierskapsvakuum.
In Jan Smuts: Afrikaner Sonder Grense voer Richard Steyn aan dat ons hierdie indrukwekkende kryger-staatsman se lewe en denke moet herbesoek, omdat daar soveel te leer is uit sy merkwaardige prestasies. Die hoogs leesbare verslag ondersoek onder meer Smuts se rol as politieke leier, as adviseur van węreldleiers, sy spirituele en intellektuele lewe en sy verhoudings met vroue. Sy unieke bydraes op ŉ verskeidenheid ander terreine, insluitend botanie, bewaring en filosofie, word ook bespreek.
Jan Smuts: Afrikaner Sonder Grense skram egter nie weg van die paradoksale in Smuts nie. Hoewel hy een van die argitekte van die Verenigde Nasies en ŉ groot kampvegter vir menseregte was, kon hy nie so ver kom om die plaaslike swart meerderheid politieke regte te gun nie.
This stirring collection of essays and talks by activist and former judge Albie Sachs is the culmination of more than 25 years of thought about constitution-making and non-racialism. Following the Constitutional Court's landmark Nkandla ruling in March 2016, it serves as a powerful reminder of the tenets of the Constitution, the rule of law and the continuous struggle to uphold democratic rights and freedoms. We, The People offers an intimate insider's view of South Africa's Constitution by a writer who has been deeply entrenched in its historical journey from the depths of apartheid right up to the politically contested present.
As a second-year law student at the University of Cape Town, Sachs took part in the Defiance Campaign and went on to attend the Congress of the People in Kliptown, where the Freedom Charter was adopted in 1955. Three decades later, shortly after the bomb attack in Maputo that cost him his arm and the sight in one eye, he was called on by the Constitutional Committee of the African National Congress to co-draft (with Kader Asmal) the first outline of a Bill of Rights for a new democratic South Africa. In 1994, he was appointed by Nelson Mandela to the Constitutional Court, where he served as a judge until 2009. We, The People contains some of Sachs' most memorable public talks and writings, in which he takes us back to the broad-based popular foundations of the Constitution in the Freedom Charter. He picks up on Oliver Tambo's original vision of a non-racial future for South Africa, rather than one based on institutionalised power-sharing between the races. He explores the tension between perfectability and corruptibility, hope and mistrust, which lies at the centre of all constitutions.
Sachs discusses the enforcement of social and economic rights, and contemplates the building of the Constitutional Court in the heart of the Old Fort Prison as a mechanism for reconciling the past and the future. Subjective experience and objective analysis interact powerfully in a personalised narrative that reasserts the value of constitutionality not just for South Africans, but for people striving to advance human dignity, equality and freedom across the world today.
Internationally-renowned historian Hermann Giliomee has himself been intimately involved in the unfolding drama of South Africa’s history, as participant at the Dakar talks with the ANC, as outspoken commentator for the English press, and as leading thinker on the Afrikaners. Giliomee’s lucidity and original insights make this more than just his own story. It is also a gripping narrative, filled with anecdotes and revealing inner workings of the Afrikaner establishment.
The infamous Seriti Commission into the arms deal. The Glenister case following the disbanding of the Scorpions. Busting open the bread manufacturers’ cartel.
High drama; high stakes brought to South Africa courtesy of the Accountability Now NGO, and its founder Paul Hoffman.
Join him in his journey from jaded silk to corruption buster – a fly-on-the-wall account of courtroom battles, influential personalities, secrets and lies in the battle to speak truth to power.
As uitgesproke kommenatator wat voor en na 1994 met die regering gebots het, een van die Dakar-gangers wat al in die 1980s die ANC gaan ontmoet het en wereldkenner van die Afrikaners, is Giliomee ten nouste betrokke by ons land se geskiedenis – en hoe ons dit verstaan. Hier verweef hy sy eie lewensverhaal met die van die land en die mense wat hom fassineer in leesbare, narratiewe vorm, vol staaltjies en onvertelde verhale.
#FeesMustFall, the student revolt that began in October 2015, was an uprising against lack of access to, and financial exclusion from, higher education in South Africa. More broadly, it radically questioned the socio-political dispensation resulting from the 1994 social pact between big business, the ruling elite and the liberation movement.
The 2015 revolt links to national and international youth struggles of the recent past and is informed by Black Consciousness politics and social movements of the international Left. Yet, its objectives are more complex than those of earlier struggles. The student movement has challenged the hierarchical, top-down leadership system of university management and it’s ‘double speak’ of professing to act in workers’ and students’ interests yet enforce a regressive system for control and governance. University managements, while one one level amenable to change, have also co-opted students into their ranks to create co-responsibility for the highly bureaucratised university financial aid that stand in the way of their social revolution.
This book maps the contours of student discontent a year after the start of the #FeesMustFall revolt. Student voices dissect coloniality, improper compromises by the founders of democratic South Africa, feminism, worker rights and meaningful education. In-depth assessments by prominent scholars reflect on the complexities of student activism, its impact on national and university governance, and offer provocative analyses of the power of the revolt.
When Jacob Zuma retires to Nkandla, what will be left behind?
South Africa has been in the grip of the “Zunami” since May 2009: Scandal, corruption and allegations of state capture have become synonymous with the Zuma era, leaving the country and its people disheartened. But Jacob Zuma’s time is running out. Whether he leaves the presidency after the ANC’s national conference in 2017, stays on until 2019, or is forced to retire much sooner, the question is: what impact will his departure have on South Africa, its people and on the ruling party? Can we fix the damage, and how?
Ralph Mathekga answers these questions and more as he puts Zumaʼs leadership, and what will come after, in the spotlight.
South Africa has become a nation defined by its protests. Protests can, and do, bring societal problems to public attention in direct, at times dramatic, ways. But governments the world over are also tempted to suppress this right, as they often feel threatened by public challenges to their authority. Apartheid South Africa had a shameful history of repressing protests. The architects of the country's democracy expressed a determination to break with this past and recognise protest as a basic democratic right. Yet, today, there is concern about the violent nature of protests.
Protest Nation challenges the dominant narrative that it has become necessary for the state to step in to limit the right to protest in the broader public interest because media and official representations have created a public perception that violence has become endemic to protests. Bringing together data gathered from municipalities, the police, protestor and activist interviews, as well as media reports, the book analyses the extent to which the right to protest is respected in democratic South Africa. It throws a spotlight on the municipal role in enabling or mostly thwarting the right.
This book is a call to action to defend the right to protest: a right that is clearly under threat. It also urges South Africans to critique the often-skewed public discourses that inform debates about protests and their limitations.
Once an enemy of the apartheid police, Andrew Brown has worked as a police reservist for almost twenty years. In this book he takes the reader on patrol with him – into the ganglands of the Cape Flats, the townships of Masiphumelele and Nyanga, and the high-walled Southern Suburbs.
Good Cop, Bad Cop is a personal account of the perilous and often conflicting work of a SAPS officer. Brown describes being shot at, arresting suspects in a drug bust, chasing down leads in a homicide investigation and keeping the peace during the UCT student protests. Brown illustrates how difficult the job of the police is, and how easy it is to react with undue force. Yet he argues passionately that the role of the police is to be a service to communities and not a force to suppress social discontent.
Gripping and thought-provoking, this is a fascinating insight into the social fabric of current South Africa.
Priscilla Jana is a legendary figure in South African revolutionary politics. As an Indian woman who had experienced racial oppression first-hand, she decided to use her degree in law to fight for the rights of her fellow people and do all she could to bring down the Apartheid state - who saw her as a very real threat. At one time she represented every single political prisoner on Robben Island, including both the late Nelson Mandela and his wife Winnie. Priscilla spent her days in court, fighting human rights case after human rights case, but it was at night when her real work was done. As part of an underground cell, she fought tirelessly to bring down the hated government. This activism, however, came at a price. One of South Africa's infamous 'banned persons', for five years Priscilla was unable to take part in any political activities, enter any place where a large number of people were gathered, and had her movements severely restricted. Worse, her own home was attacked with petrol bombs on multiple occasions. Undeterred, Priscilla Jana continued her work, even adopting the baby daughter of a client imprisoned on Robben Island, bringing here up, educating her, and providing a loving home. Finally, upon Mandela's release and the political revolution of her beloved country, Priscilla's work was rewarded, as she was elected as a member of South Africa's first democratic parliament. Later, she was to become an ambassador to both The Netherlands and Ireland. Now retired and living in Cape Town, Priscilla still works and waits for her most fervent desire: the true healing and unification of South Africa.
The demise of apartheid was one of the great achievements of postwar history, sought after and celebrated by a progressive global community. Looking at these events from the other side, An African Volk explores how the apartheid state strove to maintain power as the world of white empire gave way to a post-colonial environment that repudiated racial hierarchy.
Drawing upon archival research across Southern Africa and beyond, as well as interviews with leaders of the apartheid order, Jamie Miller shows how the white power structure attempted to turn the new political climate to its advantage. Instead of simply resisting decolonization and African nationalism in the name of white supremacy, the regime looked to co-opt and invert the norms of the new global era to promote a fresh ideological basis for its rule. It adapted discourses of nativist identity, African anti-colonialism, economic development, anti-communism, and state sovereignty to rearticulate what it meant to be African. An African Volk details both the global and local repercussions.
At the dawn of the 1970s, the apartheid state reached out eagerly to independent Africa in an effort to reject the mantle of colonialism and redefine the white polity as a full part of the post-colonial world. This outreach both reflected and fuelled heated debates within white society, exposing a deeply divided polity in the midst of profound economic, cultural, and social change. Situated at the nexus of African, decolonization, and Cold War history, An African Volk takes readers into the corridors of white power to detail the apartheid regime's campaign to break out of isolation and secure global acceptance.
A fresh, nuanced look at an extraordinary woman and her lifelong fight for justice. Defying the constraints of her gender and class, Emily Hobhouse travelled across continents and spoke out against oppression. A passionate pacifist and a feminist, she opposed both the 1899-1902 Anglo-Boer War and World War One, leading to accusations of treason. Elsabe Brits travelled in her footsteps to bring to life a colourful story of war, heroism and passion, spanning three continents.
Who are these Guptas who are so powerful, they’re distributing cabinet posts like matrons handing out condoms at a brothel? Who do Americans think they are, accusing Trevor Noah of ‘stealing’ a joke from one of their comedians? Is Sizakele MaKhumalo Zuma’s spaza shop a National Key Point?
In #ZuptasMustFall, And Other Rants, Fred Khumalo runs riot, contemplating the pressing issues that continue to confound, infuriate and exasperate the nation – or to sink it into further controversy. Covering a wide range of topics, including politics, history, current events and celebrity gossip, this compilation of recent and new writings contains Khumalo’s trademark blend of humour and shrewd analysis, as well as his treatment of everyday issues from a uniquely South African perspective.
This is an entertaining collection of thoughts from one of the country’s most seasoned journalists, offering many questions, and tongue-in-cheek answers, on who we are as a nation, where we are going, and how we compare to the rest of the world.
Die volle, grootliks onvertelde verhaal van Emily Hobhouse, aktivis en stryder teen onreg en onderdrukking - gedurende die Anglo-Boereoorlog, maar ook in verskeie lande regoor die wereld - met nuut ontdekte foto's en aan die hand van bronne wat tot dusver skaars ontgin is. Pryswenner-joernalis Elsabe Brits het onder meer Emily se handgeskrewe ongepubliseerde outobiografie ontdek in 'n trommel in die bewaring van Emily se agterkleinniggie in Kanada. Ryklik geillustreer in volle kleur.
Wilfrid Cooper was a rare man during the dark days of apartheid: an advocate whose career coincided almost perfectly with the rise and fall of the Nationalist government, intersecting eerily with that of its “architect” HF Verwoerd, and yet a man whose enlightened principles and liberal thinking saw him regularly defending those less fortunate.
His storied legal career saw him embroiled in numerous political affairs throughout the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s. He represented, among others, Verwoerd’s assassin Dimitri Tsafendas; the SWAPO Six in Swakopmund; the families of Imam Abdullah Haron, Mapetla Mohapi and Hoossen Haffajee and others who died “jumping down stairwells while in detention” or hanged by their own jeans in their cells; and Steven Biko and other activists who were arrested by the security police in the dead of night. There were also the highprofile criminal cases, including the original Kebble-style “assisted suicide” of Baron Dieter van Schauroth and the scandalous case of the Scissors Murderess Marlene Lehnberg.
Wilfrid Cooper reached the peak of his considerable legal prowess in a time when South Africans led a parallel existence, the majority downtrodden while white privilege reigned serenely in the suburbs – a time that could have easily provided him a less controversial career had he desired. And yet even as he and his gregarious wife Gertrude enjoyed wonderful and very sociable years in their Newlands home in Cape Town – an area that was itself remodelled under the Group Areas Act – he chose to walk the path less taken in the shadow of Devil’s Peak. This is his story.
The Soweto Student Uprising of 1976 was a decisive moment in the struggle against apartheid. It marked the expansion of political activism to a new generation of young activists, but beyond that it inscribed the role that young people of subsequent generations could play in their country's future.
Since that momentous time, students have held a special place in the collective imaginary of South African history. Drawing on research and writing by leading scholars and prominent activists, Students Must Rise takes Soweto '76 as its pivot point, but looks at student and youth activism in South Africa more broadly by considering what happened before and beyond the Soweto moment. Early chapters assess the impact of the anti-pass campaigns of the 1950s, of political ideologies like Black Consciousness as well as of religion and culture in fostering political consciousness and organisation among youth and students in townships and rural areas. Later chapters explore the wide-reaching impact of June 16th itself for student organisation over the next two decades across the country. Two final chapters consider contemporary student-based political movements, including #RhodesMustFall and #FeesMustFall, and historically root these in the long and rich tradition of student activism in South Africa.
2016 marks the 40th anniversary of the 1976 June 16th uprisings. This book rethinks the conventional narrative of youth and student activism in South Africa by placing that most famous of moments - the 1976 students' uprising in Soweto - in a deeper historical and geographic context.
When Amin Cajee left South Africa to join the liberation struggle he believed he had volunteered to serve a democratic movement dedicated to bringing down an oppressive and racist regime. Instead, he writes, in this powerful and courageous memoir, "I found myself serving a movement that was relentless in exercising power and riddled with corruption".
Fordsburg Fighter traces an extraordinary physical journey – from home in South Africa, to training in Czechoslovakia and the ANC’s Kongwa camp in Tanzania to England. The book is both a significant contribution to opening up the hidden history of exile, and a documentation of Cajee’s emotional odyssey from idealism to disillusionment.
In his introduction to the book, Paul Joseph, ex-treason trialist, South African Communist Party member and MK recruiter, writes: ”What happened to them and to the others in that chaotic and confused time is both sad and tragic. But his honestly told story is essential for us to have a fuller picture of our history, if only to ensure, perhaps, that future generations will learn from our mistakes.’
The killing of thirty-four miners by police at Marikana in August 2012 was the largest massacre of civilians in South Africa since Sharpeville. The events have been covered in newspaper articles, on TV news and in a commission of inquiry, but there is still confusion about what happened on that fateful day.
In Murder At Small Koppie, renowned photojournalist Greg Marinovich explores the truth behind the Marikana massacre. He investigates the shootings near Wonderkop hill, which happened in view of the media, as well as the killings that happened beyond the view of cameras at a nondescript collection of boulders known as Small Koppie, some 300 metres away. Many of the men killed here were shot in cold blood at close range. Drawing on his own meticulous research, eyewitness accounts and the findings of the Marikana Commission of Inquiry, Marinovich accurately reconstructs that fateful day as well as the events leading up to the strike, and looks at the subsequent denials, obfuscation and buck-passing by Lonmin, the SAPS and the government.
This is the definitive account of the Marikana massacre from the journalist whose award-winning investigation into the tragedy has been called the most important piece of South African journalism since apartheid.
Some thirty-five years after its original publication, Year of Fire, Year of Ash still stands as one of the leading accounts of the 1976-77 Soweto Revolt, one of the most significant acts of resistance in the history of the anti-apartheid movement.
Authored by a South African activist and scholar who was intimately involved in the movement, the book provides an unparalleled insight into the origins and events of the uprising, from its antecedents in the early 1970s to its role in galvanizing the global struggle against apartheid. Crucially, the book overturned much of the conventional logic around the uprising, by showing that it was not simply a student protest, but a revolt by the wider black working class.
As South Africa experiences a new wave of popular revolt, and as new forms of black consciousness come to the fore in movements around the world, Hirson's book provides a timely reminder of the continued significance of the Soweto revolt to struggles against oppression today.
This account of the decade that preceded the Soweto uprising of June 1976 not only transforms our understanding of this crucial flashpoint of South Africa’s history, but also creates a longer, more evolutionary, historical narrative for the overthrow of apartheid.
It argues that the suppression of opposition movements after the Sharpeville massacre in 1960 did not lead to a period of ‘quiescence’, as many writers maintain, in which activists retreated into private acts of dissent and the opposition went underground, followed, a decade later, by a sudden eruption of the townships, first in Soweto, and then across the country. Rather, these years were marked by experiments in resistance and attempts to develop new forms of politics which prepared the ground for the uprising in Soweto, introducing new modes of organisation, new models of protest, and new ideas of resistance, identity, and political ideology to a generation of activists.
This book begins by showing how students at South Africa’s segregated white and black universities began to re-organise themselves as a political force; how new ideas about race reinvigorated political thought; and how debates around confrontation shaped the development of new forms of protest. The author then builds upon this narrative to show how protest began to move off university campuses and onto the streets: through the independent actions of workers in Durban, and then through attempts by students to link their struggles with a more public political agenda.
These actions made protest public once again, and helped establish the patterns of popular action and state response that would come to shape the events in Soweto on 16 June 1976.
The first comprehensive investigation into the life of former operative Eugene de Kock. It includes innumerable hours of in-depth conversations with De Kock whilst in prison, is based on his diaries, prison writings and psychological reports.
Anemari Jansen was unexpectedly introduced to De Kock in 2011 at Pretoria Central. She was immediately fascinated by “the man with the soft voice and well-groomed hands”, well aware that those were the very hands that had murdered several people.
Jansen wanted to know how this intelligent, well-read individual could be the “monster” from the Vlakplaas death squad, the man the media dubbed Prime Evil. For the next three years she researched De Kock’s story intensely. She won his trust, paying him visits in prison ! Sunday after Sunday. She also had exclusive access to his family and friends, as well as old Koevoet and Vlakplaas colleagues.
Her quest for answers took her to all the corners of South Africa and changed her life irrevocably. Jansen, who has been apolitical for most of her life, was forced in this process to confront the horrors of apartheid and to reassess her own identity as an Afrikaner.
Huge sections of De Kock’s diaries and unpublished manuscript are included in the book. De Kock is blatantly honest, not just only about the Vlakplaas atrocities, but also about his experience in the Border War as a member of Koevoet. In this book he discloses the names of his superiors who gave him his orders, many of whom have escaped sanction.
The book not only illuminates the complexities of De Kock as person and the choices he had to make, but also exposes South Africa’s recent history in an open and sometimes shocking manner.
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