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Africa Reimagined is a passionately argued appeal for a rediscovery of our African identity. Going beyond the problems of a single country, Hlumelo Biko calls for a reorientation of values, on a continental scale, to suit the needs and priorities of Africans. Building on the premise that slavery, colonialism, imperialism and apartheid fundamentally unbalanced the values and indeed the very self-concept of Africans, he offers realistic steps to return to a more balanced Afro-centric identity.
Historically, African values were shaped by a sense of abundance, in material and mental terms, and by strong ties of community. The intrusion of religious, economic and legal systems imposed by conquerors, traders and missionaries upset this balance, and the African identity was subsumed by the values of the newcomers. Biko shows how a reimagining of Africa can restore the sense of abundance and possibility, and what a rebirth of the continent on Pan-African lines might look like. This is not about the churn of the news cycle or party politics – although he identifies the political party as one of the most pernicious legacies of colonialism. Instead, drawing on latest research, he offers a practical, pragmatic vision anchored in the here and now.
By looking beyond identities and values imposed from outside, and transcending the divisions and frontiers imposed under colonialism, it should be possible for Africans to develop fully their skills, values and ingenuity, to build institutions that reflect African values, and to create wealth for the benefit of the continent as a whole.
Throughout the past 50 years, the courts have been a battleground for contesting political forces as more and more conflicts that were once fought in Parliament or in streets, or through strikes and media campaigns, find their way to the judiciary.
Certainly, the legal system was used by both the apartheid state and its opponents. But it is in the post-apartheid era, and in particular under the rule of President Jacob Zuma, that we have witnessed a dramatic increase in ‘lawfare’: the migration of politics to the courts.
The authors show through a series of case studies how just about every aspect of political life ends up in court: the arms deal, the demise of the Scorpions, the Cabinet reshuffle, the expulsion of the EFF from Parliament, the nuclear procurement process, the Cape Town mayor…
When working on the UNESCO Slave Route project in the early 2000s, Botlhale Tema discovered the extraordinary fact that her highly educated family from the farm Welgeval in the Pilanesberg had originated with two young men who had been child slaves in the midnineteenth century. She pieced together the fragments of information from relatives and members of the community, and scoured the archives to produce this book.
Land Of My Ancestors, previously published as The People Of Welgeval, tells the story of the two young men and their descendants, as they build a life for themselves on Welgeval. As they raise their families and take in people who have been dispossessed, we follow the births, deaths, adventures and joys of the farm’s inhabitants in their struggle to build a new community.
Set against the backdrop of slavery, colonialism, the Anglo-Boer War and the rise of apartheid, this is a fascinating and insightful retelling of history. It is an inspiring story about friendship and family, landownership and learning, and about how people transform themselves from victims to victors.
A new prologue and epilogue give more historical context to the narrative and tell the story of the land claim involving the farm, which happened after the book’s original publication.
A younger generation of South Africans are developing important and innovative ways of understanding South Africa’s past, challenging narratives that have, over the last decades, been informed by notions of forgiveness and reconciliation. Carli Coetzee uses the image of history-rich blood to explore these approaches to intergenerational memory. In this book, she revisits older archives and analyses contemporary South African cultural and literary forms.
The emphasis on blood challenges the privileged status skin has had as an explanatory category in thinking about identity. Instead, Coetzee emphasises intergenerational transfer and continuity. She argues that a younger generation is contesting the terms through which to understand contemporary South Africa and interpreting the legacies of the past that remain under the visible layer of skin.
The chapters each concern blood: Mandela’s prison cell as laboratory for producing bloodless freedom, the kinship relations created and resisted in accounts of Eugene de Kock in prison, Ruth First’s concern with information leaks in her accounts of her time in prison, the first human-to-human heart transplant and its relation to racialised attempts to salvage white identity, the #Fallist moment, the Abantu Book Festival, and activist scholarship and creative art works that use blood as a trope for thinking about change and continuity.
A quest is never what you expect it to be.
Elizabeth Madeline Martin spends her days in a retirement home in Cape Town, watching the pigeons and squirrels on the branch of a tree outside her window. Bedridden, her memory fading, she can recall her early childhood spent in a small wood-and-iron house in Blackridge on the outskirts of Pietermaritzburg. Though she remembers the place in detail – dogs, a mango tree, a stream – she has no idea of where exactly it is. ‘My memory is full of blotches,’ she tells her daughter Julia, ‘like ink left about and knocked over.’
Julia resolves to find the Blackridge house: with her mother lonely and confused, would this, perhaps, bring some measure of closure? A journey begins that traverses family history, forgotten documents, old photographs, and the maps that stake out a country’s troubled past – maps whose boundaries nature remains determined to resist. Kind strangers, willing to assist in the search, lead to unexpected discoveries of ancestors and wars and lullabies. Folded into this quest are the tender conversations between a daughter and a mother who does not have long to live.
Taken as one, The Blackridge House is a meditation on belonging, of the stories we tell of home and family, of the precarious footprint of life.
Between 1913 and 1989 some four million South Africans were forcibly removed from their homes to enforce residential segregation along racial lines. This study records and interprets the memories of some of the Capetonians who were relocated as a result of the infamous Group Areas Act.
Former resients of Windermere, Tramway Road in Sea Point, District Six, Lower Claremont, and Simon's Town narrate their experiences. The work shows how different - even conflicting - versions of popular memories are historically significant for individuals and communities, and for the professionals and academics who work with them.
Most important, it demonstrates how the sharing of oral histories and memories allows people to rebuild a sense of self and community.
When opportunity strikes, television producer Deon Maas joins the boatloads of migrants heading for Germany. Faced with the choice of taking all his possessions along or selling everything, he opts for the latter. With a duffel bag and his four dogs, he departs for the First World.
Decadent Berlin blows his mind but also leaves him at a loss for words. As he criss-crosses the city, scratching at its pulsating underbelly, he marvels at German idiosyncrasies, and is roped into this new world by an array of vegan anarchists, eclectic musicians, football hooligans and graffiti artists.
As he tries to settle in, he has to deal with everything from obnoxious bureaucrats to nosy neighbours. In the process, Maas debunks a few myths about the First World: it’s not a perfect place where everything works, and German efficiency is definitely overrated.
By confronting the loss of his support network and adapting to a different political and social context, he learns exactly how deep his African roots go and what it takes to find your place in Europe as a white African.
Vusi Mavimbela is one of South Africa's foremost political adventurers and wanderers. A writer of singular verve, humour and descriptive power, his memoir provides penetrating pen portraits of many well-known South African and African political actors, including martyred uMkhonto weSizwe guerilla Solomon Mahlangu, Nigeria's Olusegun Obasanjo, Robert Mugabe and a galaxy of senior ANC exiles such as Joe Slovo, Chris Hani, Josiah Jele, Joel Netshitenzhe and Mac Maharaj.
He touches on and illuminates the personalities of many influential men and women in South Africa's early democratic governments. But the heart of Mavimbela's narrative lies in his unique experience of working as a top administrator and counsellor in the offices of Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma. In the most intimate detail, he describes the emergence and escalation of the conflict between those two flawed principals. He captures the drama of their struggle and its destructive fallout for the new South African state.
Mavimbela offers a potent warning: loyalty and long service to a political party is no guarantee of wise and effective leadership.
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.
In The Eight Zulu Kings, well-respected and widely published historian John Laband examines the reigns of the eight Zulu kings from 1816 to the present.
Starting with King Shaka, the renowned founder of the Zulu kingdom, he charts the lives of the kings Dingane, Mpande, Cetshwayo, Dinuzulu, Solomon and Cyprian, to today’s King Goodwill Zwelithini whose role is little more than ceremonial.
In the course of this investigation Laband places the Zulu monarchy in the context of African kingship and tracks and analyses the trajectory of the Zulu kings from independent and powerful pre-colonial African rulers to largely powerless traditionalist figures in post-apartheid South Africa.
In this riveting new book, John Laband, pre-eminent historian of the Zulu Kingdom, tackles some of the questions that swirl around the assassination in 1828 of King Shaka, the celebrated founder of the Zulu Kingdom and war leader of legendary brilliance: Why did prominent members of the royal house conspire to kill him? Just how significant a part did the white hunter-traders settled at Port Natal play in their royal patron's downfall? Why were Shaka's relations with the British Cape Colony key to his survival? And why did the powerful army he had created acquiesce so tamely in the usurpation of the throne by Dingane, his half-brother and assassin?
In his search for answers Laband turns to the Zulu voice heard through recorded oral testimony and praise-poems, and to the written accounts and reminiscences of the Port Natal trader-hunters and the despatches of Cape officials. In the course of probing and assessing this evidence the author vividly brings the early Zulu kingdom and its inhabitants to life. He throws light on this elusive character of and his own unpredictable intentions, while illuminating the fears and ambitions of those attempting to prosper and survive in his hazardous kingdom: a kingdom that nevertheless endured in all its essential characteristics, particularly militarily, until its destruction fifty one years later in 1879 by the British; and whose fate, legend has it, Shaka predicted with his dying breath.
Charlie Squadron – the iron fist of 61 Mechanised Battalion Group (61 Mech) – led the way on 3 October 1987 during the climactic battle between the South African Defence Force and the Angolan forces on the Lomba River in southern Angola. Ratels On The Lomba places the reader in the midst of the squadron of young conscripts who were taken off to the Border War to fight in this battle.
Not only were they up against a vastly superior Angolan force in terms of numbers and weaponry, but they also had to deal with terrain so dense that their sight was severely impaired and their movement restricted. Also, even though SADF tactical doctrine clearly stated that tanks had to be countered by tanks, these conscripts had to take on the Angolan tanks in armoured cars with inferior low-velocity guns and thin armour, designed to keep out nothing more than small-arms fire. Yet, during the battle on the Lomba the 47 Brigade of the Angolan forces was nearly wiped out.
Scholtz’z blow-by-blow account of a David vs. Goliath battle takes the reader to the heart of the action. It is honestly told and vividly described, thanks to interviews with veterans and diary entries that help to recreate the drama of the battle. It is an intensely human story of how individuals react in the face of death and how the war never left them, even when they returned home.
The apartheid state was at war. It was a conflict intended to stifle demands for freedom, subjugate Southern Africa and benefit the grip on power by the ruling elite. It was a fight for survival, which was to intensify in the two decades before South Africa’s liberation in 1994. While internal resistance grew, the United Nations imposed mandatory sanctions prohibiting the sale of strategic goods such as arms and oil to South Africa. The regime was confronted with an existential threat – isolation. A covert network of over 50 countries, including big powers and sworn enemies, was constructed to counter sanctions to illegally supply guns to Pretoria. Under the cloak of secrecy, allies in corporations, banks, governments and intelligence agencies sprung into action.
Apartheid, Guns And Money: A Tale Of Profit is an exposť of this machinery created in defence of apartheid. They include heads of states, arms dealers, aristocrats, plutocrats, senators, bankers, spies, journalists and members of secret lobby groups. Moving in the shadows, these people were complicit in a crime against humanity. The motivation for some was ideological as part of the Cold War anti-communism crusade. Others felt kinship with the last white regime in Africa. The book also addresses questions of unsolved murders and domestic complicity by South African business with the apartheid state.
This deeply researched book lifts the lid on some of the darkest secrets of apartheid’s economic crimes never before fully investigated. The stories weave together material collected in over two dozen archives in eight countries over four years, providing readers with an insight into tens of thousands of pages of newly declassified documents. Interviews with businessmen, politicians, sanctions busters and freedom fighters provide eyewitness accounts of acts of complicity and contrition.
The book argues that networks of state capture have been with us for decades. These must be confronted to deal with the corrupt networks in our democratic political system. In forging the country’s future a new generation needs to grapple with the baffling silence of apartheid-era economic crime and ask difficult questions of those who benefitted from it. This book provides the evidence and the motivation to do so.
The Last Hurrah describes in vivid detail a pivotal moment not just in the history of South Africa, that far-flung imperial outpost, but of the British Empire itself. The year 1947 marked the high-water mark of the British Empire in Africa, but also the very moment at which it began to unravel, ahead of the Afrikaner Nationalist victory in South Africa in 1948, which led inexorably to the Republic of South Africa in 1961 and its departure from the Commonwealth.
Graham Viney's book not only superbly captures a moment in the life of a fractious, recently formed 'nation', before its descent into nearly five decades of darkness, but also gives us an intimate and revealing portrait of the royal family - King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret - hard at work in support of the national interest. It seems clear that the present Queen Elizabeth must have learned a great deal from her father, but perhaps particularly her mother, about duty and statecraft in the course of this three-month tour, during which the then princess celebrated her twenty-first birthday.
Viney evocatively details the background to the 1947 royal tour of southern Africa, which took in not just the length and breadth of what was then the Union of South Africa, but its neighbours, too: Basutoland (now Lesotho), Bechuanaland (Botswana), Swaziland (very recently renamed the Kingdom of eSwatini), Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and Northern Rhodesia (Zambia). The royal family travelled ceaselessly, from February to April that year, on a specially commissioned, white-painted train, meeting thousands of people at every stop along the way.
The tour was a show of imperial solidarity and a recognition of South Africa's contribution to the Allied cause during the Second World War, specifically that of South African prime minister Jan Smuts, who, though once an adversary in the Boer War and Churchill's jailer, had served in both British war cabinets and been nicknamed 'the handyman of Empire'. Despite concerns and ongoing controversy, wherever the tour took the Royal Family, South Africans of all kinds turned out in their thousands to cheer and welcome them. But India was to gain independence later that same year and just one year later, Smuts had been ousted from power and South Africa set on the path to becoming a republic.
The Last Hurrah draws skilfully on many diverse sources, including the Royal Archive at Windsor, to explore not just the troubled politics of the time, but also local society and the royal visitors in richly textured, telling detail. The book includes many photographs of the royal family on tour not previously published, including stills from film footage unearthed in the South African Railway Museum archives.
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.
When the Soweto uprisings of June 1976 took place, Sifiso Mxolisi Ndlovu, the author of this book, was a 14-year-old pupil at Phefeni Junior Secondary School. With his classmates, he was among the active participants in the protest action against the use of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction.
Contrary to the generally accepted views, both that the uprisings were ‘spontaneous’ and that there were bigger political players and student organisations behind the uprisings, Sifiso’s book shows that this was not the case. Using newspaper articles, interviews with former fellow pupils and through his own personal account, Sifiso provides us with a ‘counter-memory’ of the momentous events of that time.
This is an updated version of the book first published by Ravan Press in 1998. New material has been added, including an introduction to the new edition, as well as two new chapters analysing the historiography of the uprisings as well as reflecting on memory and commemoration as social, cultural and historical projects.
RW Johnson's bestselling book How Long Will South Africa Survive? was published at the height of the Zuma presidency. Since then, Cyril Ramaphosa has taken over as president and there have been some attempts to clean up government. But the brief period of 'Ramaphoria' is over and the threat to both the economy and the dream of a non-racial democracy is as real as ever.
As national elections loom, Johnson examines the state of the nation with pinpoint accuracy. On the one hand state-owned institutions are near collapse, municipalities are defunct and civil strife is rampant. On the other, Ramaphosa and his team have come up with a plan to curb corruption and create growth and prosperity.
But will it work?
In A Man Apart Richard Steyn once again brings to life a South African icon. Louis Botha was the first Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa, a union he did much to create in the decade after the devastation of the Anglo-Boer War. During the war Botha was a brilliant young Boer general who through his battlefield strategy won significant victories over the British in the early stages of the war. When the weight of British arms overhelmed the Boers, Botha along with Smuts did much to encourage peace between English and Afrikaner and led the country to Union in 1910 and dominion status.
Botha was a big-hearted and generous man who showed magnanimity in his dealings with all, including former enemies. He led the South African troops to victory and the capture of German South West Africa – prior to this he had to put down a revolt of pro-German Afrikaners. At the Peace of Versailles, representing South Africa, he pleaded unsuccessfully for magnanimity towards the Germans. Botha was a globally respected figure – he and Smuts effectively operated as a double act in South Africa and on the international stage before Botha’s untimely death in August 1919 at only 57. In A Man Apart this tragically short life is illuminated in full.
Steve Joubert had always wanted to be a pilot and the only way he could afford to do so, was to join the South African Air Force in the late 1970s.
As an adventurous young man with a wicked sense of humour, he tells of the many amusing escapades he had as a trainee pilot. But soon he is sent to fight in the Border War in northern Namibia (then South West Africa) where he is exposed to the carnage of war. The pilots of the Alouette helicopters were witness to some of the worst scenes of the Border War. Often, they were the first to arrive after a deadly landmine accident.
In the fiercest battles their gunships regularly supplied life-saving air cover to troops on the ground.
With tears in my eyes I took a last glimpse at No. 22 Cross Street as we turned into Stuckeris Street. ‘Sala kahle, District Six,’ I whispered.
Nomvuyo Ngcelwane grew up in the heart of District Six. In beautiful detail, she tells of life in a bustling community, of their interesting social lives and the vibrant atmosphere one has come to associate with District Six.
Twenty years since original publication, Ngcelwane’s story is still relevant today and paints a captivating history of black people living in District Six before forced removals took place. She writes with great honesty, warmth, humor and heart. More than fifty years since forced goodbyes, Ngcelwane’s memoir reiterates the need for social justice and casts a light on the memories forgotten by some.
“Sala Kahle, District Six is free of posturing. It has great documentary value. The fact that it is the memoir of a Black woman adds to its already considerable interest.” Vincent Kolbe
Well-known television anchor and media personality Ruda Landman talks to a wide variety of South Africans about their life choices and how change has affected them.
A colourful mosaic of diverse experiences emerges as people share life stories and lessons. The book includes insights by the likes of John Kani, Ferial Haffajee, Pieter-Dirk Uys, Katlego Maboe, Gugu Zulu, Zapiro, ProVerb, Arno Carstens, Mam' Khanyi (who takes in street children and orphans), Nick Binnedell and Marc Lottering.
Revealing, sad, funny and filled with hope as well-known and ordinary people equally show how each one of us always has options and can make a difference by how we respond to what we encounter.
For the last twenty years, Melinda Gates has been on a mission. Her goal, as co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has been to find solutions for people with the most urgent needs, wherever they live. Throughout this journey, one thing has become increasingly clear to her: if you want to lift a society up, invest in women.
Candid and inspiring, in The Moment Of Lift, Gates traces her awakening to the link between women’s empowerment and the health of societies. She shows some of the tremendous opportunities that exist right now to 'turbo-charge' change. And she provides simple and effective ways each one of us can make a difference. Convinced that all women should be free to decide whether and when to have children, Gates took her first step onto the global stage to make a stand for family planning. That step launched her into further efforts: to ensure women everywhere have access to every kind of job; to encourage men around the globe to share equally in the burdens of household work; to advocate for paid family leave for everyone; to eliminate gender bias in all its forms.
Throughout, Gates introduces us to her heroes in the movement towards equality, offers startling data, shares moving conversations she’s had with women from all over the world – and shows how we can all get involved.
A personal statement of passionate conviction, this book tells of Gates’ journey from a partner working behind the scenes to one of the world’s foremost advocates for women, driven by the belief that no one should be excluded, all lives have equal value, and gender equality is the lever that lifts everything.
From prehistory to the first settlers, from colonialism to apartheid, and from the turbulent transition to the first two decades of democracy, This Incredible Land takes you swiftly through the most important events of South Africaís tempestuous and terrific past.
Clear and chronologically structures, this book is the perfect primer on the most important political, social and economic events in South African history.
A must-read for scholars and students, and an enriching experience for tourists and citizens, this is a book for any and every history-loverís shelf.
‘Miskien issit omdat poverty my define en nie die racial politics vannie land ie.’
Wit issie ’n colour nie is ’n versameling verhale oor grootword en die lewe in die buitewyke van die Kaapse Vlakte. Dit dek identiteit, rassepolitiek, sosio- ekonomiese kwessies en bruin kultuur, en bevraagteken die Suid-Afrika waarin ons ons bevind. Dit is gevul met galgehumor, rou eerlikheid en hartverskeurende vertellings van pogings om die lewe op die Vlakte te navigeer. Hierdie versameling is diep persoonlik en ’n ontstellend waar weergawe van die lewe aan die ander kant van die spoor, geskryf in Kaapse Afrikaans.
I'll Take The Sunny Side is a memoir about many things - tennis, friendship, storytelling and growing older.
Gordon Forbes, acclaimed author of A Handful of Summers and Too Soon to Panic, has joined seven friends for the seniors' lunch in the Rainbow Room at the Country Club for several years. They are a group of learned men, writers, scholars and ex-editors, this book arises from their meandering conversations. You might know some of the table: James, the born humourist; Mark, the headmaster; Tim and Charles, the historians; two Peters who have edited newspapers; Richard, an author and editor; and Gordon, the tennis player. Join them as they debate politics, books and sport in particular.
Is television affecting the antics of modern sportsmen? How many oysters is enough to make a difference? What has happened to tennis, has the nobility of the game gone for good?
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