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Sunday, 9 November 1952. It should be remembered as a day of infamy in South Africa’s history but few know of a brutal massacre when police opened fire on people at an ANC Youth League-organised event in Duncan Village in East London.
The official death toll was eight people killed by police gunfire and bayonet and two killed in retaliation, including an Irish nun and medical doctor, Sister Aidan Quinlan, who lived and worked in Duncan Village. Today it is believed that between 80 and 200 died that day, most buried quietly by their families, who feared arrest if they sought help at hospitals. In the cover-ups and long silences that followed, the real facts of this tragedy at the height of the ANC’s Defiance Campaign were almost lost to history.
Bloody Sunday follows the trail of the remarkable Sister Aidan into the heart of a missing chapter in our country’s past – and what was one of the most devastating massacres of the apartheid era.
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.
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.
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.
Land reform and the possibility of expropriation without compensation are among the most hotly debated topics in South Africa today, met with trepidation and fervour in equal measure. But these broader issues tend to obscure a more immediate reality: a severe housing crisis and a sharp increase in urban land occupations.
In Promised Land, Karl Kemp travels the country documenting the fallout of failing land reform, from the under-siege Philippi Horticultural Area deep in the heart of Cape Town’s ganglands to the burning mango groves of Tzaneen, from Johannesburg’s lawless Deep South to rural KwaZulu-Natal, where chiefs own vast tracts of land on behalf of their subjects. He visits farming communities beset by violent crime, and provides gripping, on-the-ground reporting of recent land invasions, with perspectives from all sides, including land activists, property owners and government officials. Kemp also looks at burning issues surrounding the land debate in South Africa – corruption, farm murders, illegal foreign labour, mechanisation and eviction – and reveals the views of those affected.
Touching on the history of land conflict and conquest in each area, as well as detailing the current situation on the ground, Promised Land provides startling insights into the story of land conflict in South Africa.
How did Einstein help create Eskom? Why can an Indonesian volcano explain the Great Trek? What do King Zwelithini and Charlemagne have in common?
These are some of the questions Johan Fourie explores in this entertaining, accessible economic history spanning everything from the human migration out of Africa 100 000 years ago to the Covid-19 pandemic. Our Long Walk to Economic Freedom is an engaging guide to complex debates about the roots and reasons for prosperity, the march of opportunity versus the crushing boot of exploitation, and why the builders of societies – rather than the burglars ¬– ultimately win out.
Join the author on this enriching journey through an African-centred history and the story of our long walk towards a brighter future.
When the Cradock Four's Fort Calata was murdered by agents of the apartheid state in 1985, his son Lukhanyo was only three years old. Thirty-one years later Lukhanyo, now a journalist, becomes one of the SABC Eight when he defies Hlaudi Motsoeneng's reign of censorship at the public broadcaster by writing an open letter that declares: "my father didn't die for this".
Now, with his wife Abigail, Lukhanyo brings to life the father he never knew and investigates the mystery that surrounds his death despite two high-profile inquests.
Join them in a poignant and inspiring journey into the history of a remarkable family that traces the struggle against apartheid beginning with Fort's grandfather, Rivonia trialist and ANC Secretary-General Rev James Calata.
In The Lie of 1652, influential blogger and history activist Mellet retells and debunks established precolonial and colonial land dispossession history. He provides a radically new, fresh perspective on South African history and highlights 176 years of San/Khoi colonial resistance.
Contextualising the cultural mix of the Cape, he recounts the history of forced and voluntary migration to the Cape by Africans, Indians, Southeast Asians, Europeans and the African Diaspora in a new way.
This provocative, novel perspective on 'Colouredness' also provides a highly topical new look at the burning issue of land, and how it was lost.
In 1979, the SADF established a highly clandestine unit, called Delta40 or D40 in short. This ultrasecret unit was tasked with the dirty work of “disappearing” hundreds of ANC, PAC and Swapo actvisits. With the help of Project Coast, D40 poisoned political activists and prisoners of war before dumping their bodies into the ocean from a light aircraft.
Even some of the SADF’s own special force members became victims of these ‘death flights’ when they threatened to expose the secret work of D40. D40 was renamed Barnacle and eventually became the wellknown Civil Cooperation Bureau (CCB), but the existence and operations of D40 remained almost unknown until now. Its role in statesanctioned murders was a wellkept secret.
Seasoned investigative journalist Michael Schmidt interviewed veteran D40, Barnacle and CCB operatives, as well as Recce commanders and doubleagents, to piece together this topsecret history. With Death Flight he uncovers black ops kept hidden for decades
The presidential campaign in the USA grabbed the global imagination. It also grabbed the feminist imagination, presenting the hope that if a woman could become the president of the USA, women throughout the world would finally break through the reinforced glass ceiling. However, when it didn’t happen, the lost opportunity became the metaphorical kick in the feminist gut on a global scale. Through the subsequent misogyny, vulgarity, lewd comments, the pussy grabbing video, and the threats of the erosion of feminist activism in the trenches, worldwide a deep mourning arose from the feminist community. It was the name calling of “nasty women” that really smarted. Initial feelings of anger gave rise to empowerment of women — those who talk back to patriarchy — to embrace the label of “nasty women”.
The idea for the collection was born, cradled and nurtured between friends who wanted to create a space for writing and thinking about the marches. The group of feminists who contributed to this collection used the marches and the posters inspired by the marches as a vehicle which galvanised women into action to put pen to paper and show fervour for ongoing feminist activism.
The nexus of this beautifully written and evocatively illustrated collection is telling narratives that link very personal stories with deeply political issues. These are the stories told by nasty women who are making the personal political, who are seeking to live their lives in ways that resist and challenge patriarchy. Through their very intimate nature these are stories that speak to the creation of a different kind of social order, one based on equity, the promotion of human rights and social justice.
“Rebels And Rage is a critically important contribution to public discussion about #FeesMustFall”–Eusebius McKaiser
Adam Habib, the most prominent and outspoken university official through the recent student protests, takes a characteristically frank view of the past three years on South Africa’s campuses in this new book. Habib charts the progress of the student protests that erupted on Wits University campus in late 2015 and raged for the better part of three years, drawing on his own intimate involvement and negotiation with the students, and also records university management and government responses to the events. He critically examines the student movement and individual student leaders who emerged under the banners #feesmustfall and #Rhodesmustfall, and debates how to achieve truly progressive social change in South Africa, on our campuses and off.
This book is both an attempt at a historical account and a thoughtful reflection on the issues the protests kicked up, from the perspective not only of a high-ranking member of university management, but also Habib as political scientist with a background as an activist during the struggle against apartheid. Habib moves between reflecting on the events of the last three years on university campuses, and reimagining the future of South African higher education.
The story of the intelligence war in South Africa during the Second World War is one of suspense, drama and dogged persistence. In 1939, when the Union of South Africa entered the war on Britain’s side, the German government secretly reached out to the anti-war political opposition, and to the leadership of the pro-fascist Ossewabrandwag.
The Nazis’ aim was to spread sedition in South Africa and to undermine the Allied war effort. To this end, they even offered to supply weapons to the Ossewabrandwag. But the critical strategic importance of the sea route round the Cape of Good Hope meant that the Germans were also after naval intelligence. Soon U-boat packs were sent to operate in South African waters, to deadly effect.
With the help of the Ossewabrandwag, a network of German spies was established to gather important political and military intelligence and relay it back to the Reich. Agents would use a variety of channels to send coded messages to Axis diplomats in nearby Mozambique. Meanwhile, police detectives and MI5 agents hunted in vain for illegal wireless transmitters.
Drawing on numerous primary and archival sources, Hitler’s South African Spies presents an unrivalled account of the German intelligence networks that operated in wartime South Africa and investigates the true threat level presented by Nazi Germany. It includes a fascinating account of the Royal Navy’s signals intelligence network in southern Africa and also details the hunt in post-war Europe for witnesses to help the South African government bring charges of high treason against key Ossewabrandwag members.
A remarkable new book about a dark stain on modern South Africa – our enormous and problematic prison population – and what we can do to fix it.
"Lock them up and throw away the key!" is a cry we hear often in South Africa today. But this simplistic solution to crime simply isn’t working. As Father Babychan Arackathara, a Catholic chaplain to some of the Western Cape’s most notorious prisons, shows in this compassionate reflection on his work, even criminals have stories, and crime invariably has roots. He listens to those stories and untangles those roots on our behalf, sharing insights into the brokenness of our society and communities – and offering real, workable suggestions for fixing them.
Can we move to the ideal of hating the crime, but loving the criminal? What must we do to see that offenders are themselves victims and to engage them constructively? How do we break the cycles of addiction, trauma and crime to reach for reconciliation and transformation?
The Land Is Ours tells the story of South Africa’s first black lawyers, who operated in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In an age of aggressive colonial expansion, land dispossession and forced labour, these men believed in a constitutional system that respected individual rights and freedoms, and they used the law as an instrument against injustice.
The book follows the lives, ideas and careers of Henry Sylvester Williams, Alfred Mangena, Richard Msimang, Pixley ka Isaka Seme, Ngcubu Poswayo and George Montsioa, who were all members of the ANC. It analyses the legal cases they took on, explores how they reconciled the law with the political upheavals of the day, and considers how they sustained their fidelity to the law when legal victories were undermined by politics.
The Land Is Ours shows that these lawyers developed the concept of a Bill of Rights, which is now an international norm. The book is particularly relevant in light of current calls to scrap the Constitution and its protections of individual rights: it clearly demonstrates that, from the beginning, the struggle for freedom was based on the idea of the rule of law.
Four years. Seven continents. An unprecedented quest to document and preserve our last remaining wild lands.
In more than 200 striking images, acclaimed South African photographers Peter and Beverly Pickford have created an epic, unparalleled portrait of some of our planet’s most untouched places: from the heat-beaten country of Namibia’s Skeleton Coast to Alaska and the Yukon’s abundance of water, in ocean, river and lake; from the subantarctic islands’ wind-tossed shores in the south to the Arctic’s immense expanses of cracked pancake ice in the north; and the dazzling juxtaposition of desert and water in Australia’s Kimberley to the remote, frozen peaks of Tibet and Patagonia. Within these extreme landscapes, Beverly and Peter’s images illuminate and celebrate myriad forms of life: polar bears, rhinoceroses and bharal, as well as the humble lichen, are all evocatively pictured within the landscapes upon which they depend. This is a wildlife book like no other, its images aching with what words struggle to describe: the resonance of wilderness in our inner being, the power of land to transform our emotion, and our ability to transcend the immediate to become sublime.
Wild Land’s stunning images are accompanied by a fascinating text in which Peter not only vividly describes the photographers’ adventures in pursuit of wild land, but also delivers a timely message that highlights the urgent need for these lands to be preserved for the future of the planet – a future on which humankind’s very survival is dependent.
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.
‘Highly readable and packed with fascinating historical detail, this is
the compelling story of a ripsnorting South African cricketer whose
career was smothered by the shameless colour prejudice of Cecil John
Rhodes and his snobbish cronies. By turns formidable, sad, enlivening
and enormously informative, this book pays Hendricks the honour that
has long been his due.’ – Bill Nasson
The new South Africa cannot be understood without a knowledge of the history of the UDF and its role in the transition to democracy. As Professor Gail Gerhart has written, "Without the UDF, the politics of the contemporary ANC would have been entirely different, its accession to power more difficult, and the character of its subsequent actions undoubtedly both different and probably much less successful. The UDF was far more than a John the Baptist to the ANC's second coming: it was actually the mechanism through which the ANC, in exile for 30 years, effected its successful return, adaptation and reintegration as South Africa's post-apartheid government."
This is a major study of an organisation that transformed South African politics in the 1980s. By co-ordinating popular struggles on the ground and promoting the standing of the African National Congress, the UDF played a central role in the demise of apartheid and paved the way for South Africa's emergence as a democracy.
Based on extensive documentary and interview sources, this title traces the UDF's birth, career and dissolution. It is a remarkable tale of strategic and tactical decision-making: of how opponents of apartheid made choices that helped to seal the fate of white domination whilst avoiding the general bloodbath that always threatened.
#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.
Allegations of treason, real or imagined, always rankle. So much more when a life and death struggle of a nation is perceived to be at stake. Yet treason is common in warfare and accusations of sedition abound in any war.
While this book focuses specifically on the intricacies of alleged Afrikaner treason during a particularly volatile period, the analysis is also informed by an awareness of treason in the wider context.
In this fresh and highly readable collection of South African biographical essays, a distinguished group of authors illuminates the lives of eleven colourful, complex men and women whose personal experiences throw fascinating light on the times in which they lived.
The individuals whose stories are told here are very different in time, in place and in work and at play, but are united by an abundantly rich humanity and the myriad ways in which they navigated their existence through the uneven terrain of South Africa's distant and more recent past. Including colonial administrators, activists, educationists, sportsmen, a poet, a painter and a pilot, Illuminating Lives is a wide-ranging and moving book that provides readers with striking and unexpected insights into our history.
Here are some intriguing South African lives well worth knowing about.
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.
1-Recce was the sharpest, most versatile and deadliest specialist unit in the entire South African army. These men were super fit, unbelievably tough and stopped at nothing. Time and again they put their lives at risk in the execution of highly secret operations behind enemy lines.
For decades these missions have been kept secret. Now, for the first time, the Recces' most famous generals (including the legendary colonel Jan Breytenbach) reveal their involvement in many highly sensitive political operations.
Explosive revelations are made of a collapsed mission to blow up key ANC figures in the final years of the apartheid era. They tell of 1-Recce's involvement in the controversial Border War and reveal the existence of a top secret squadron in the then Rhodesian army.
After years of myths and secrecy, this book gives a new perspective on the Recces and the way they operated invisibly behind the scenes.
In South Africa, two unmistakable features describe post-Apartheid politics. The first is the formal framework of liberal democracy, including regular elections, multiple political parties and a range of progressive social rights. The second is the politics of the ‘extraordinary’, which includes a political discourse that relies on threats and the use of violence, the crude re-racialization of numerous conflicts, and protests over various popular grievances. In this highly original work, Thiven Reddy shows how conventional approaches to understanding democratization have failed to capture the complexities of South Africa’s post-Apartheid transition. Rather, as a product of imperial expansion, the South African state, capitalism and citizen identities have been uniquely shaped by a particular mode of domination, namely settler colonialism. South Africa, Settler Colonialism and the Failures of Liberal Democracy is an important work that sheds light on the nature of modernity, democracy and the complex politics of contemporary South Africa.
Jan Christian Smuts was soldier, statesman and intellectual, one of South Africa’s greatest leaders. Yet little is said about him today, even as we appear to live in a leadership vacuum.
Unafraid of Greatness is a re-examination of the life and thoughts of Jan Smuts. It is intended to remind a contemporary readership of the remarkable achievements of this impressive soldier-statesman. The author argues that there is a need to bring Smuts back into the present, that Smuts’ legacy still has much to instruct. He draws several parallels between Smuts and President Thabo Mbeki, both intellectuals much lionised abroad and yet often distrusted at home. This book is a highly readable account of Smuts’ life. It also examines a number of overarching themes: his relationships with women, spiritual life, intellectual life and his role as advisor to world leaders. Politics and international affairs receive the lion’s share, but Smuts’ unique contributions to other fields – for example, botany – are not neglected.
Unafraid of Greatness does not shy away from the contradictions of its subject. Smuts was one of the architects of the United Nations, and a great champion of human rights, yet he could not see the need to reform the condition of the African majority in his own country.
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