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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 Apartheid and its resistance come to life in this story to make it a vital historical document, one of its time and one for our own.
One of the greats of South African rugby shares the many layers of his colourful and eventful life. From rugby legend to businessman, wine farmer, cultural custodian, musician, father and grandfather, Schalk Burger’s memoir is an intensely personal and honest journey of the triumphs and hardships that have shaped the life of a much-loved South African.
Burger is a storyteller extraordinaire and he’ll have you snorting into your beer as you read about run-ins with officialdom, fisticuffs on the field, how he became the first white Springbok selected from a Coloured team, and the day Cheeky Watson asked to wash his feet.
This is a glimpse into the life and times of one of the country’s most recognised figures, and told in the stories of the many lives that intersected with his. “Who am I, and how do I live? That is something this story will bring out of me.”
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.
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
The story of the Springboks 2019 Rugby World Cup victory is one of the
most inspiring in South African sporting history.
A riveting, action-filled account that sheds light on the realities of working in a war-torn country, this is the first book on the war in Iraq by a South African.
Johan Raath and a security team were escorting American engineers to a power plant south of Baghdad when they were ambushed. He had first arrived in Iraq only two weeks before. This was a small taste of what was to come over the next 13 years while he worked there as a private military contractor (PMC). His mission? Not to wage war but to protect lives. Raath acted as a bodyguard for VIPs and, more often, engineers who were involved in construction projects to rebuild the country after the 2003 war. His physical and mental endurance was tested to the limit in his efforts to safeguard construction sites that were regularly subjected to mortar and suicide attacks. Key to his survival was his training as a Special Forces operator, or Recce.
Working in places called the Triangle of Death and driving on the ‘Hell Run’, Raath had numerous hair-raising experiences. As a trained combat medic he also helped to save people’s lives after two suicide bomb attacks on sites he then worked at.
Once, chef Brett Ladds was given a cigar by Fidel Castro, he talked weightlifting with Swazi king Mswati III and his cooking made Quincy Jones sing. For many years he also served Nelson Mandela many cups of rooibos tea and made him his favourite meals.
Ladds was the executive chef of the SA government and manager of the presidential guesthouse at Bryntirion Estate in Pretoria from 1994-1999 where he served both Mandela and Thabo Mbeki. It was a naive and star-struck 21-year-old Ladds who started working at the guesthouse in the months before the first democratic election. During this time he was always in the background when struggle stalwarts like Steve Tshwete, Joe Modise and Dullah Omar met Mandela to discuss the future of the country.
This heart-warming book tells of a young man’s coming of age at a turning point in our history. His stories about meeting kings and queens, presidents, rock stars and even the pope are laced with his unique, self-deprecating sense of humour. Of Queen Elizabeth he says it felt like speaking to his gran. “I asked myself, how does all that power fit into this lovely, caring lady?” Of Robert Mugabe: “He never moaned about a thing.”
Then there are the Russian diplomats and their drinking habits and the Saudi-Arabian sheik who had 8 television sets installed in his room and bought 20 blankets at R5000 each for his stay.
It’s a book to make you laugh and cry. And Madiba’s favourite champagne? PÍche Royale . . .
Frederik van Zyl Slabbert was a man on a mission, whether as an academic, opposition politician, democratic facilitator or businessman. When he famously led a delegation of leading Afrikaners to Dakar in 1987 to meet the exiled ANC, many saw it as a breakthrough moment, while others felt he had been taken in. And yet his reputation – for honesty, integrity, wit and courage – still towers above many of his contemporaries.
An academic turned politician, Slabbert brought unusual intellectual rigour to Parliament, transforming the upstart Progressive Federal Party into a force that could challenge the National Party. Disillusioned by South African society, he resigned in 1986 to explore democratic alternatives. Sidelined during the democratic transition, he continued to pursue a broad range of initiatives aimed at building democracy, empowering black South Africans and transforming the economy.
Grundlingh offers insights into this most unlikely politician, providing new perspectives on a figure who even today remains an enigma.
Mandela: His Essential Life chronicles the life and legacy of one of the twentieth century's most influential and admired statesmen.
Charting his development from remote rural roots to city lawyer, freedom fighter, and then political leader, Peter Hain takes an in-depth look at Mandela's rise through the ranks of the African National Congress (ANC) and subsequent 27 years imprisonment on Robben Island, as increasingly vocal protests against the injustices of Apartheid brought his struggle against overwhelming prejudice and oppression to the eyes of the world. This book encompasses Mandela's inauguration as South Africa's first democratically elected president, his "retirement" campaigns for human rights, a solution to AIDS and poverty. It goes on to chronicle his later years and death.
Throughout, the humanity and compassion of this extraordinary world leader shine through. The author concludes with a critical analysis of his and the ANC's achievements, its leadership's subsequent slide into corruption, and whether under new direction South Africa can reclaim the values and legacy of Mandela, and the 'rainbow nation' he created and led to such global acclaim.
The remarkable, and often touching, friendship between Winston Churchill and Jan Smuts is a rich study in contrasts.
In youth they occupied very different worlds: Churchill, the rambunctious and thrusting young aristocrat; Smuts, the ascetic, philosophical Cape farm boy who would go on to Cambridge. Brought together first as enemies in the Anglo-Boer War, and later as allies in the First World War, the men forged a friendship which spanned the first half of the twentieth century and endured until Smuts’s death in 1950. Richard Steyn, author of Jan Smuts: Unafraid of Greatness, examines this close friendship through two world wars and the intervening years, drawing on a maze of archival and secondary sources including letters, telegrams and the voluminous books written about both men.
This is a fascinating account of two remarkable men in war and peace: one the leader of the Empire, the other the leader of a small fractious member of that Empire who nevertheless rose to global prominence.
A modern gangster cashes in on the London Olympics; while business, politics and police corruption undermine the operation to stop him.
When billions poured into the neglected east London borough hosting the 2012 Olympics, a turf war broke out between crime families for control of a now valuable strip of land. Using violence, guile and corruption, one gangster, the Long Fella, emerged as a true untouchable. A team of local detectives made it their business to take him on until Scotland Yard threw them under the bus and the business of putting on "the greatest show on earth" won the day.
Award-winning journalist Michael Gillard took up where they left off to expose the tangled web of chief executives, big banks, politicians and dirty money where innocent lives are destroyed and the guilty flourish. Gillard's efforts culminated in a landmark court case, which finally put the Long Fella and his friends on trial exposing London's real Olympic legacy.
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.
A former South African Air Force pilot who saw action throughout the region from the 1970s, Neall Ellis is the best-known mercenary combat aviator alive. Apart from flying Alouette helicopter gunships in Angola, he has fought in the Balkan War (for Islamic forces), flown Mi-8s for Executive Outcomes, and thereafter an Mi-8 fondly dubbed“Bokkie” for Colonel Tim Spicer in Sierra Leone.
For the past two years, as a “civilian contractor,” Ellis has been flying helicopter support missions in Afghanistan, where, he reckons, he has had more close shaves than in his entire previous four-decade career; twice he turned the enemy back from the gates of Freetown, effectively preventing the rebels from overrunning Sierra Leone’s capital. Known as Nellis to his friends, he was also the first mercenary to work hand-in-glove with British ground and air assets in a modern guerrilla war.
This book describes the full career of this storied aerial warrior, from the bush and jungles of Africa to the forests of the Balkans and the merciless mountains of today’s Afghanistan. Along the way the reader encounters a multi-ethnic array of enemies ranging from ideological to cold-blooded to pure evil, as well as well as examples of incredible heroism for hire.
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