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Cape Town, 2018. South Africa’s mother city is wracked by drought. The prospect of premier Helen Zille’s ‘Day Zero’ – the day when all taps run dry – is driving its citizens into a frenzy. When it’s announced that Mayor Patricia de Lille is off the water crisis, the predicament reaches its zenith and politicians turn upon each other.
And so begins a stupendous battle within the Democratic Alliance: who will lead Cape Town? It’s during this time that author and researcher Crispian Olver applies to the City of Cape Town to gain access to certain official documents as part of a research project. He is baffled when his application is rejected without explanation, but this only strengthens his resolve to explore how the city of his childhood is run. In particular, he has his sights set on the relationship between city politicians and property developers.
Olver interviews numerous individuals, including many ‘chopped’ from the city administration. What he uncovers is a pandora’s box of backstabbing, in-fighting and backroom deals. He explores dodgy property developments at Wescape and Maiden’s Cove, delves into attempts to ‘hijack’ civic associations, and exposes the close yet precautious relationship between the mayor and City Hall’s so-called ‘laptop boys’. But his main goal is to understand what led to the political meltdown within the Democratic Alliance, and the defection of De Lille to form her own party.
It’s easy to imagine that state capture began with Jacob Zuma and the Guptas. But you’d be wrong.
Born out of the ANC Women’s League 20 years ago, Bosasa has come to be described as the ANC’s ‘Heart of Darkness’. At its helm today is Gavin Watson, a struggle-rugby-player-turned-tenderpreneur who made it his business to splash out on gifts and cash to get up close and personal with the country’s top politicians and civil servants. In return, Bosasa won tenders to the tune of billions of rands and – with friends in high places – stayed clear of prosecution. Adriaan Basson has been investigating Bosasa since he was a rookie journalist 13 years ago. He has been sued, intimidated and threatened, but has stuck to the story like a bloodhound. Now, in the wake of the explosive findings of the Zondo commission, he has weaved the threads of Bosasa’s story together.
Blessed by Bosasa is a riveting in-depth investigation into an extraordinary story of high-level corruption and rampant pillage, of backdoor dealings and grandiose greed. Through substantial research and a number of interviews with key individuals, Basson unveils the shady, cult-like underbelly of the criminal company that held the Zuma government in the palm of its hand.
Africa is a continent with boundless potential — it has the natural resources, the population, and the landmass to become a major player on the global stage. Why then, is the gap between Africa and the rest of the world increasing?
While the continent has seen improvements in terms of key indicators of human wellbeing like infant mortality and life expectancy, Africa still suffers from massive poverty, weak economic growth, de-industrialisation, an underdeveloped agricultural sector and poor regional integration, among others. What needs to be done to unleash Africa’s potential and ignite a growth revolution?
In this book, Jakkie Cilliers examines where the continent is at and where it will be in 2040 if it continues on the current path.
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.
As an award-winning photojournalist and part of the Bang-Bang Club, Greg Marinovich has covered war and conflict all over Africa and the world. In Shots From The Edge he recounts his experiences in these conflict zones, recalling interviews with the perpetrators and the victims of violence, from rebels, child soldiers and terrorists to peacekeepers, aid workers, rape survivors, orphans and amputees. The book takes the reader throughout South Africa, and to Angola, Mozambique, Somalia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Chechnya, Palestine and many other contested zones.
With compassion and care, Marinovich documents more than two decades’ worth of turbulent history and reveals the people involved in the conflict. Some of the moments are deeply moving and profound; others so surreal as to blur into insanity. From coming under fire with United Nations peacekeeping troops in the Lašva Valley and being escorted around Mogadishu by a crew of gunmen for hire, to running through the streets of Johannesburg as Inkatha and the ANC face off at Shell House, the reader is exposed to people, places and experiences that would otherwise be difficult to comprehend.
The accounts in Shots From The Edge are at once insightful, tragic, shocking and occasionally humorous, but above all they are a poignant reminder of the brutality and indignity of war, and man’s capacity for cruelty.
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.
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.
They Called Me Queer is a collection written by Africans who self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual (LGBTQIA+).
Across the continent, and throughout the world, South Africa has become known for its tolerance towards us, the LGBTQIA+ community. However, even if being who we are is legal, we live in a devastatingly segregated and unequal society, where the combination of race, class, gender and sexual identities still heavily impacts every part of our lives. This collection of stories is a testimony to who we are. It is an assertion of our struggles, but also our triumphs, our joys.
These are our stories of acceptance and rejection, of young love and old lovers, of the agonising thrills of coming out and coming into ourselves, of our sex lives, of our families and communities.
Writing by Haji Mohamed Dawjee, Lwando Scott, Ling Sheperd, Maneo Mohale, Chase Rhys, Wanelisa Xaba, Jamil F Khan, Khanya Kemami, Janine Adams, Craig Lucas and others.
What does it take to deceive those closest to you? How do you lead a double life and not lose yourself? Is there ever a point of return? Jonathan Ancer explores these questions in the tales of SA’s spies: from the navy superspy on the Russian payroll to the party girl who fell in love with Cuba and the idealistic students used and abused in apartheid’s intelligence war.
Ancer gets under the skin of what it takes to betray those closest to you – and what it is means to be betrayed.
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.
In 1987–1988 the dusty Angolan town of Cuito Cuanavale was the backdrop for the final battles of the Border War. Ever since the war ended, the fighting around Cuito has been the subject of a fierce public debate over who actually won the war.
While the leadership of the former South African Defence Force (SADF) claims it was never defeated, the supporters of the Angolan MPLA government, Cuba and SWAPO insist that the SADF was vanquished on the battlefield. They contend that the SADF wanted to overrun Cuito Cuanavale and use it as a springboard for an advance on Luanda.
But was Cuito Cuanavale ever really an objective of the SADF? Leopold Scholtz tackles this question by examining recently declassified documents in the SANDF archives, exploring the strategic and tactical decisions that shaped the six main battles, from the SADF’s stunning tactical success on the Lomba River to the grinding struggle for the Tumpo Triangle.
His incisive analysis untangles what happens when war, politics and propaganda become entwined.
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.
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…
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.
‘How can there be only one dedicated hospital in the country for our children?’
When Madiba asked this question, he sowed the seeds of a challenge that would grow into a legacy.
A seed may be small but its size is disproportionate to what it can become over time. The Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital was a project that seemed impossible when it was just an idea that started with ten people seated around a dinner table. As they discussed the state of healthcare in the country and shared their experiences, they realised that it was the children of Southern Africa who were the most disadvantaged by the lack of dedicated paediatric facilities. At the end of the evening a statement by the late Dr Nthato Motlana took hold and became the catalyst for a remarkable journey: ‘I will speak to Nelson,’ he said.
With South Africa’s first democratically elected president Nelson Mandela’s backing, the board of the Children’s Fund was inspired to take up the challenge to address this vital need. After years of global research and advice from experts in numerous different fields a Trust was formed to oversee the project and, critically, to set about raising the one billion rand it would take to build, equip and staff a state-of-the-art children’s hospital.
The stories behind the planning for, fundraising and building of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital are inspiring, personal, and sometimes heart-breaking. It was a long and arduous journey, beset with difficulties, but the dedicated team’s commitment and courage prevailed to create a living legacy that will truly impact the lives of children for generations to come.
Today, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital in Johannesburg is a proud testimony to a uniquely African story which honours the memory of a great statesman and celebrates the children for whom he cared so deeply.
The late eighties was a highly politicised environment. Willem Laubscher was healing some of the world’s best-known political prisoners, amongst them Walter Sisulu and Govan Mbeki. When Nelson Mandela was scheduled for a similar operation, all hell broke loose.
The National Party was quietly plotting to smuggle Mandela out of the country, possibly hoping that he would escape, while the ANC was scoring points by casting doubt on the medical services that white doctors like Laubscher was willing to provide to the political prisoners. A relatively simple medical operation turned into an international diplomatic crisis. Meanwhile, in most ironic of twists, the security police was taking desperate measures to ensure Mandela’s safety – the country could simply not afford an assassination attempt.
Willem Laubscher was the medical practitioner in the eye of this storm; Nelson Mandela was the calm strategist who had held out against pressure from both the jittery NP government and the increasingly boisterous ANC, with Winnie Mandela already larger than life, stoking the media and exploiting every available loophole to embarrass the government.
This is the story of a few weeks of diplomatic chaos, and a security operation that completely overshadowed the medical procedure Mandela was scheduled for. Read all about it now in this 64-page memoir of that provocative time, Operation Mandela.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What was it like to be a freedom fighter in the 1980s? Eighteen members of the ANC’s military underground tell their stories, describing their backgrounds, their roles in the armed struggle and their lives since the fall of apartheid.
In 1987, the apartheid minister of law and order boasted that the security forces had crushed Umkhonto we Sizwe in the Western Cape. He could not have been more wrong. The Ashley Kriel Detachment, named after one of their slain comrades, conducted over thirty operations between late 1987 and early 1990, playing a crucial role in the defeat of an unjust system. In Voices from the Underground, eighteen members of the AKD give accounts of their involvement in the armed struggle. The book traces their varying journeys into MK, via student activism, trade unions, religious organisations and UDF politics. It details their training in Angola, Botswana, Tanzania, Cuba and South Africa, and their experiences of detention and interrogation. Members recall the stresses of couriering arms and explosives across police roadblocks, hiding in safe houses and evading capture. They talk about the operations they executed, the measures they took to avoid civilian casualties, and their responses to security breaches and the deaths of comrades in the line of duty.
Above all, this is a book about people, showing the effects of apartheid on their lives, their reasons for joining the armed struggle, the challenges of surviving in the underground while raising children, and their experiences of returning to civilian life or, in some cases, integrating into the SANDF.
Voices from the Underground gives a human face to ordinary people who took up arms to fight a violent state for the freedom of all South Africans.
It was a dark and stormy night in 1991 when a magician took over the bridge of the Oceanos, an ageing passenger liner travelling up the Wild Coast.
The captain was nowhere to be found. The ship started taking in water in the auxiliary engine room just a few hours after it had set sail from East London. Panicking, the crew scrambled into the lifeboats, leaving passengers largely to fend for themselves. The ship’s entertainment staff bravely started to calm passengers and coordinated the abandon-ship operation and rescue effort.
The story of this dramatic rescue, which made headlines across the world, is told from the perspective of all the key role players and describes their extraordinary heroism.
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.
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.
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.
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