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This book is the story of an exceptional man: David Samaai. The author takes the reader on a fascinating journey through the life of Davy (as he was affectionately known by his peers) who began his career in the streets of a beautiful suburb called the Ou Tuin (Old Garden) on the banks of the picturesque Berg River. Due to the Group Areas Act of the apartheid government they were forced to leave their homes. They had to move to the other side of the river to a new town: Paarl East.
Many thought that it was the end. On the contrary, it was anything but game set and match. Because of inspirational leadership, they managed to overcome apartheid and even excelled! David led by example. First, he conquered Wimbledon and then he led his community rebuilding their town, their schools, the mosque and the church. In fact, they rebuilt their entire lives.
Eventually it turned out to be a chronicle of the political emancipation of a community to which David Samaai was an inspiration, not because he was a legendary tennis player, a gifted musician or a committed school principal and teacher, but because he was and still is an example to any South African.
He left a legacy that with hard work and perseverance you can achieve your dream.
Jeremy Maggs has been a journalist and a television and radio presenter
for over 30 years, with a front-row seat to major news events in the
run-up to and during the birth of South Africa’s democracy and beyond.
He was also the host of the hugely successful television show, Who
Wants to Be a Millionaire?, and so became a household name.
How I Accidentally Became a Global Stock Photo and Other Strange and Wonderful Stories is part memoir, part travelogue and part love letter. Shubnum Khan takes the reader on a journey around the world. Whether it is teaching children in a remote village in the Himalayas, attending a writers’ residency where the movie The Blair Witch Project was shot, getting pulled out of the ocean in Turkey or becoming a bride on a rooftop in Shanghai, Shubnum is quirky, moving and vulnerable in what she shares.
Shubnum offers an introspective reflection on what it means to be a woman, particularly a single Muslim woman in South Africa, trying to find herself in a modern world. The stories are drawn from her life journey, which has been full of unexpected twists and turns, and are interspersed with reflections on culture and religion as well as musings on family, relationships and love.
The Mindy Project meets Bridget Jones’s Diary with a side of Keeping Up With The Kandasamys, this is a book about holding onto hope and a reminder that once ‘you step off the edge, anything can happen’.
South Africa’s past quarter century has been shaped by the decisions
and reach of one of the oldest political alliances in southern Africa,
that between the African National Congress and the South African
Op 15 Julie 1932 sterf CJ Langenhoven skielik. Dat hy ’n jong Joodse vrou, die vurige rooikop Sarah Eva Goldblatt, as eksekuteur van sy literêre nalatenskap benoem, kom as ’n verrassing. Dominique Malherbe was van kleins af gefassineer deur die familiefluisteringe oor dié groottante van haar en haar verhouding met Langenhoven. Uiteindelik besluit sy om antwoorde te soek oor Saartjie se lewe, haar werk en die raaisel rondom haar babaseun.’n Ongewone en boeiende literêre liefdesverhaal.
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.
After an extraordinary four-year battle, Gabi Lowe lost her beautiful, talented 20-year-old daughter, Jenna Lowe, on 8 June 2015 to pulmonary arterial hypertension, a rare degenerative lung disease, following a double lung transplant.
Jenna was young, bright and articulate. She was LEAD SA’s Youth Hero of the Year in 2015. Her death was mourned by thousands of people whose lives she had touched. During her short but full life, Jenna and the Lowe family raised much-needed awareness around this rare and devastating disease, highlighting the dire need for access to medication and organ donors locally. Although desperately ill, Jenna became the face for organ donation in South Africa through the hugely successful #GetMeTo21 campaign in which she invited all South Africans to attend her twenty-first birthday celebration by clicking on a link to become an organ donor. Tragically, Jenna died four months before reaching her milestone.
Brilliantly written, riveting in all its terrible truth and pain, in this brutally honest memoir Gabi Lowe shares her family’s desperate fight to save Jenna’s life. Get Me to 21 will inspire us to believe that the ability to face even the darkest, and most unimaginable, lives deep within us all.
The story of the Springboks 2019 Rugby World Cup victory is one of the
most inspiring in South African sporting history.
In 1932, Afrikaans literary icon CJ Langenhoven died suddenly. He surprised the Afrikaner establishment by naming a young Jewish woman, the fiery redhead Sarah Eva Goldblatt, executrix of his literary legacy. Since childhood, Dominique Malherbe had been intrigued by the mystery surrounding her great-aunt and Langenhoven. She finally set out to discover Sarah’s story, reclaim her for posterity, and find Sarah's son. In this biography-cum-memoir she uncovers a fascinating literary love story.
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.
Brent Meersman’s memoir of a humble yet eccentric upbringing in a Milnerton, Cape Town, flat in the 1970’s and 1980’s reads as a stirring eulogy to his schizophrenic mother, yet also as a vivid snapshot in time.
His adoring mother, a horse-loving artist, received only rudimentary treatment and Brent, his brother and father had to look to each other for support. His father battled alcoholism and unemployment, at one point taking the whole family to Belgium, where he had found work, only for them to return a year later, defeated. Traversing a home environment constantly on high alert for something to go wrong, waiting for his mother’s fragile mental stability to shatter, not finding support in his father, whose drinking and absences from home took a punishing toll on the family, bred in the author an almost heroic resilience.
This delicate yet brutal memoir, filled with wry humour, will resonate with many readers.
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.
"I wanted to write this book before I forgot the finer details. As strange as that may sound, you can forget these things, and it is probably healthier to do so. You can visit the depths of hell – just don’t hang around there for too long." – Gérard Labuschagne
In this gripping – and sometimes terrifying – account, former South African Police Service (SAPS) head profiler Dr Gérard Labuschagne, successor to the legendary Micki Pistorius, recalls some of the 110 murder series and countless other bizarre crimes he analysed during his career. An expert on serial murder and rape cases, Labuschagne saw it all in his fourteen and a half years in the SAPS. He walks the reader through the first crime scene he ever attended, his arrest of the Muldersdrift serial rapist, his experience as the head of the task team mandated to catch the Quarry serial murderer, his involvement with the Brighton Beach axe murders, and more. Despite often being stymied by a lack of resources, office politics and political interference, Labuschagne and his team were always determined to get their man – or woman, as in the Womb Raider case.
The Profiler Diaries is a fascinating – and often hair-raising – glimpse into what it was like to be a profiler in the world’s busiest profiling unit.
Hermann Giliomee, pre-eminent South African historian, dissects the forces that shaped the Afrikaners into an unusual ‘maverick African’ nation.
He analyses long-term forces like the powerful legal position of Afrikaner women, the expanding frontier, and the struggles about race inside the church, along with more recent political history.
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.
Multiple award-winning author Elsa Joubert's memoir about life after the death of her beloved husband. She must come to terms with the loss of independence, friends who die and the changes in her memory and bodily powers. Vivid memories of her eventful life as a celebrated writer are skilfully woven into her story. Filled with wisdom, compassion and humour, this book will leave no reader untouched.
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.
This extraordinary account of imprisonment shows with exacting clarity the awful injustices of the system. Sylvia Neame, activist against apartheid and racism and by profession a historian (see the three-volume, The Congress Movement, HSRC Press, 2015), has not written a classical historical memoir. Rather, this book is a highly personal account, written in an original style. At the same time, it casts a particularly sharp light on the unfolding of a policedominated apartheid system in the 1960s.
The author incorporates some of her experiences in prisons and police stations around the country, including the fabricated trial she faced while imprisoned in Port Elizabeth, one of the many such trials which took place in the Eastern Cape. But her focus is on Barberton Prison. Here she was imprisoned together with a small number of other white women political prisoners, most of whom had stood trial and been sentenced in Johannesburg in 1964–5 for membership to an illegal organisation, the Communist Party. It is a little known story. Not even the progressive party MP Helen Suzman found her way here.
Barberton Prison, a maximum security prison, part of a farm jail complex in the eastern part of what was then known as the Transvaal province, was far from any urban centre. The women were kept in a small space at one end of the prison in extreme isolation under a regime of what can only be called psychological warfare, carried out on the instructions of the ever more powerful (and corrupt) security apparatus. A key concern for the author was the mental and psychological symptoms which emerged in herself and her fellow prisoners and the steps they took to maintain their sanity. It is a narrative partly based on diary entries, written in a minute hand on tissue paper, which escaped the eye of the authorities. Moreover, following her release in April 1967 – she had been altogether incarcerated for some three years – she produced a full script in the space of two or three months. The result is immediacy, spontaneity, authenticity; a story full of searing detail. It is also full of a fighting spirit, pervaded by a sharp intellect, a capacity for fine observation and a sense of humour typical of the women political prisoners at Barberton.
A crucial theme in Sylvia Neame’s account is the question of whether something positive emerged out of her experience and, if so, what exactly it was.
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.
Bronwyn Davids’ great-grandpa Joe built their family home in Lansdowne, Cape Town, during the 1920s. She recreates their lives in the pages of this book and takes us on a journey with her family against the backdrop of apartheid South Africa.
A charming family story, but also of gut-wrenching loss that is physical, mental, and spiritual.
The self-righteous, headstrong lawyering mother has a new and greater challenge. No longer seeking the approval of her successful mother, one of South Africa’s first women judges, Niki is out to find that elusive concept of the ‘work/life’ balance and some real, sustainable solutions.
Her journey takes her deep into feminist philosophies as she struggles to understand the unfolding media-driven drama of the Oscar Pistorius trial while researching issues of ethics in the legal profession. But in between life and children, Niki is also determined to navigate her own way around the new world of print and publishing and connect with her own identity as a writer. How is she going to survive all this?
Something In Between is a light-hearted non-fiction narrative about real issues in a changing world: issues of parenting and the legal profession, tertiary institutions and marriage institutions; issues about the old feminist debate and why it’s still unresolved and some lessons learnt about the world of books and book publishing. A memoir of her last three years and all of it absolutely true.
In Foreign Native, RW Johnson looks back with affection and humour on his life in Africa. From schooldays in Durban – fresh off the aeroplane from Merseyside – to later years as an academic, director of the Helen Suzman Foundation and formidable political commentator, he has produced an entertaining and occasionally eye-popping memoir brimming with history, anecdote and insight.
Johnson charts his evolution from enthusiastic, left-leaning Africanist to political realist, relating the episodes that influenced his intellectual worldview, including time spent among the exiled liberation movements in London during the 1960s, a sojourn in newly independent Guinea and more recent forays into Zimbabwe. There are wonderful stories, some hilarious, others filled with pathos, about the multitude of characters – Harold Strachan, Tom Sharpe, Ronnie Kasrils, Helen Suzman, Frederik van zyl Slabbert, among many others – that he met along the way.
Perceptive, critical and full of verve, Foreign Native is leavened with a deep humanity that makes it a pleasure to read.
Locked up for poaching abalone, Shuhood Abader began writing his life story. For over fifteen years, he had been a small cog in a criminal industry stretching from the Cape underworld to China’s luxury seafood market. As abalone – perlemoen, perly – vanishes from the South African coast, Shuhood’s first-person account takes us right into the heart of the crisis.
Kimon de Greef’s postgraduate research on poaching led him into journalism, and today he is the pre-eminent local expert on the illicit abalone trade. He contextualises Abader’s raw, immediate tale by showing how the system works: from desperate fishing communities via gang strongholds on the Cape Flats, tik, guns and police complicity to the harbours of Morocco and Hong Kong.
Journey with the authors through death-defying dives, blackmail, robbery, shark encounters, near-drownings, and chases by police and rivals.
Poacher tells the story of a deadly black market; but it is also the story of one man, deeply conflicted, committed to his faith and searching for a better way.
South Africa’s pre-eminent historian explains the spectacular rise – and probable demise – of the numerical minority that dominated 20th-century South Africa.
The Afrikaners are unique in the world in that they successfully mobilised ethnic entrepreneurship without state assistance, controlled the entire country, and then yielded power without military defeat. Award-winning author Hermann Giliomee takes a hard analytical look at this group’s dramatic ascent and possible disappearance as a nation in a series of well-argued thematic chapters. Topics range from ethnic entrepreneurship, the ‘coloured vote’ and ‘Bantu’ education to Nelson Mandela’s relationship with the last Afrikaner leaders.
It ends with a final chapter on the most likely future for this sometimes admired, often reviled group, which undoubtedly left the largest imprint on South African history in the 20th century.
Born Perlé van Schalkwyk, into a strict Jehovah Witness family, after studying drama at Stellenbosch University, Perlé quickly realises that acting is not going to buy her that house on the hill. And so erotic dancing and stripping becomes her modus operandi and GiGi is born.
Tales of drugs, murder and porn lace her fascinating life, along with stories of courage and cunning in the sexist underworld. GiGi is a true survivor. Ultimately, this bare all memoir will both titillate and inspire.
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