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Arrested in 1962 as South Africa’s apartheid regime intensified its brutal campaign against political opponents, forty-four-year-old lawyer and African National Congress activist Nelson Mandela had no idea that he would spend the next twenty-seven years in jail. During his 10,052 days of incarceration, Mandela wrote hundreds of letters to unyielding prison authorities, fellow activists, government officials, and most memorably to his courageous wife, Winnie, and his five children.
Now, 255 of these letters, a majority of which were previously unseen, provide the most intimate portrait of Mandela since Long Walk to Freedom. Whether writing about the death of his son Thembi after a request to attend the funeral was ignored, providing unwavering support to his also-imprisoned wife, or outlining a human-rights philosophy that resonates today, The Prison Letters Of Nelson Mandela reveals the heroism of a man who refused to compromise his moral values in the face of extraordinary human punishment.
Ultimately, they position Mandela, along with Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., among the most inspiring historical figures of the twentieth century.
A companion volume to the highly successful Field Guide to the Battlefields of South Africa, this features the pivotal sieges that characterised the Cape Frontier, Anglo-Zulu, Basotho and Anglo-Boer wars in one volume.
Accounts of 17 sieges over the last two centuries explore in detail the historical context in which they occurred, the day-to-day military actions that sustained the investments and the conditions both soldiers and civilians faced while defending their territory against a hostile force. The siege descriptions are animated by maps and a variety of information boxes and human-interest stories, gleaned from diaries, letters and eye-witness accounts, while longer features focus on the practical aspects of siege warfare, such as artillery, medicine, food, and the psychological effects of besiegement. The book also provides practical information for visitors who wish to explore these historical sites.
A fascinating read that will appeal to anyone interested in the volatile history of the country – armchair historians and travellers alike.
Meet the rebels, artists, troublemakers, athletes, dancing queens and freedom fighters that shaped our past – and are changing our future.
An A To Z Of Amazing South African Women tells the stories of 26 trailblazing South African women through accessible stories and illustrations that are as bright and bold as the women they depict. From Fatima Meer to Caster Semenya, Natalie du Toit to Dope St Jude, this is a book about women who ask too many questions, who defy injustice, who refuse to take no for an answer. It is a celebration of the courage and determination of the activists, scientists and storytellers who have gone before us – as well as a recognition of the everyday heroism of ordinary South African woman doing extraordinary things.
The book takes its inspiration from the worldwide bestseller An A To Z Of Rad American Women and is the work of writer Ambre Nicolson and illustrator Jaxon Hsu, a husband and wife team based in Cape Town.
A behind-the-scenes look into the life of Meghan Markle and her romance with Prince Harry—a dishy, delightful must-read filled with exclusive insights for anyone obsessed with the Royal Family.
When Prince Harry of Wales took his American girlfriend, Meghan Markle, to have tea with his grandmother the queen, avid royal watchers had a hunch that a royal wedding was not far off. That prediction came true on November 27, 2017, when the gorgeous, glamorous twosome announced their engagement to the world. As they prepare to tie the knot in a stunning ceremony on May 19, 2018, that will be unprecedented in royal history, people are clamoring to know more about the beautiful American who captured Prince Harry’s heart.
Born and raised in Los Angeles to a white father of German, English, and Irish descent and an African American mother whose ancestors had been enslaved on a Georgia plantation, Meghan has proudly embraced her biracial heritage. In addition to being a star of the popular television series Suits, she is devoted to her humanitarian work—a passion she shares with Harry. Though Meghan was married once before, Prince Harry is a modern royal, and the Windsors have welcomed her into the tight-knit clan they call “The Firm.” Even a generation ago, it would have been unthinkable, as well as impermissible, for any member of Great Britain’s royal family to consider marrying someone like Meghan. Professional actresses were considered scandalous and barely respectable. And the last time an American divorcee married into the Royal Family, it provoked a constitutional crisis!
In American Princess, Leslie Carroll provides context to Harry and Meghan’s romance by leading readers through centuries of Britain’s rule-breaking royal marriages, as well as the love matches that were never permitted to make it to the altar; followed by a never-before-seen glimpse into the little-known life of the woman bringing the Royal Family into the 21st century; and her dazzling, thoroughly modern romance with Prince Harry.
The re-emergence of debates on the decolonisation of knowledge has revived interest in the National Question, which began over a century ago and remains unresolved. Tensions that were suppressed and hidden in the past are now being openly debated. Despite this, the goal of one united nation living prosperously under a constitutional democracy remains elusive. This edited volume examines the way in which various strands of left thought have addressed the National Question, especially during the apartheid years, and goes on to discuss its relevance for South Africa today and in the future.
Instead of imposing a particular understanding of the National Question, the editors identified a number of political traditions and allowed contributors the freedom to define the question as they believed appropriate - in other words, to explain what they thought was the Unresolved National Question. This has resulted in a rich tapestry of interweaving perceptions.
The volume is structured in two parts. The first examines four foundational traditions - Marxism-Leninism (the Colonialism of a Special Type thesis); the Congress tradition; the Trotskyist tradition; and Africanism. The second part explores the various shifts in the debate from the 1960s onwards, and includes chapters on Afrikaner nationalism, ethnic issues, Black Consciousness, feminism, workerism and constitutionalism. The editors hope that by revisiting the debates not popularly known among the scholarly mainstream, this volume will become a catalyst for an enriched debate on our identity and our future.
South Africa’s democracy is in trouble. The present situation is, in objective terms, a house divided; a house that is tottering on rotten foundations. Despite the more general advances that have been made under the ANC’s rule since 1994, power has not only remained in the hands of a small minority but has increasingly been exercised in service to capital. The ANC has become the key political vehicle – in party and state form as well as application – of corporate capital: domestic and international, black and white, local and national, and constitutive of a range of different fractions. As a result, ‘transformation’ has largely taken the form of acceptance of, combined with incorporation into, the capitalist ‘house’, now minus its formal apartheid frame.
What has happened in South Africa over the last 22 years is the corporatisation of liberation, the political and economic commodification of the ANC and societal development. Those in positions of leadership and power within the ANC have allowed themselves to be lured by the siren calls of power and money, to be sucked in by the prize of ‘capturing’ institutional sites of power, to be seduced by the egoism and lifestyles of the capitalist elite.
This book tells that ‘story’ by offering a critical, fact-based and actively informed holistic analysis of the ANC in power, as a means to: better explain and understand the ANC and its politics as well as South Africa’s post-1994 trajectory; contribute to renewed discussion and debate about power and democracy; and help identify possible sign-posts to reclaim revolutionary, universalist and humanist values as part of the individual and collective struggle for the systemic change South Africa’s democracy needs.
Eight-year-old Teko Modise didn’t mean to compete with his father, it was just that he was a soccer natural and everyone could see it. His father, in a fit of childlike jealously, kicked him out of the house, and when Teko tried to come back he kicked him out again. So little Teko made a plan. Every day he attended school as normal, and at night he slept out on the streets with other homeless children. This book is the true story of his rise to fame, to becoming ‘the General’, one of the best footballers South Africa has produced, and will allow readers to understand the story behind ‘the Curse’.
At the peak of his career the world seemed filled with Teko. His face was on every major billboard, TV advert and magazine cover in the country. Little boys from suburbs to townships everywhere were lining up at barbershops asking for The Teko haircut. With a house in Sandton and driving an Aston Martin, Modise was about to make history in the upcoming Soccer World Cup of 2010. He had gone beyond being football royalty, he became a super star. The tabloids have called him an abusive lover, a cheating ex-husband, a neglectful father and an alcoholic egotistical footballer. But beyond these headlines is a story about a boy who played his way out of poverty on talent alone.
Be inspired by this story of a young man with a resilient spirit who kept moving forward chasing his dreams, who not only survived, but made it, and made it big. The Teko Modise story is proof that anything is possible.
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is credited with driving through the deal between the apartheid government and the African National Congress that was at the heart of South Africa’s democratic constitution.
He was the ANC’s lead negotiator and the man who persuaded one of the most recalcitrant racist governments in the world to buy into a settlement based on one of its most enlightened bills of rights. But once the ink had dried on the constitution, Ramaphosa found himself politically sidelined. Before the negotiations he had been the head of the country’s largest mineworkers union. Afterwards, he went into business after concluding a landmark black empowerment deal. A talented negotiator capable of driving a hard bargain between implacable enemies, Ramaphosa has always been ‘the man in the middle’.
Now, as Jacob Zuma’s presidency enters its final stretch, Ramaphosa has re-entered politics and is one of a handful of candidates to take over as ANC president and as president of South Africa. Should he succeed, he will take over a country that has been battered by years of corruption and misrule which flourished under Zuma. The question that everyone is asking is: can the man in the middle lead from the front? Ray Hartley, author and seasoned journalist, attempts to answer that question by looking at how Ramaphosa has handled the key challenges he has faced in the unions, in business and in politics.
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.
Two Weeks In November is the thrilling, surreal, unbelievable and often very funny true story of four would-be enemies – a high- ranking politician, an exiled human rights lawyer, a dangerous spy and a low-key white businessman turned political fixer – who team up to help unseat one of the world's longest serving dictators, Robert Mugabe.
What begins as an improbable adventure destined for failure, marked by a mixture of bravery, strategic cunning and bumbling naiveté, soon turns into the most sophisticated political-military operation in African history. By virtue of their being together, the unlikely team of misfit rivals is suddenly in position to spin what might have been seen as an illegal coup into a mass popular uprising that the world – and millions of Zimbabweans – will enthusiastically support.
Impeccably researched, deftly written, and told in the style of a political thriller, Two Weeks In November is Ocean’s 11 meets Game of Thrones: a real-world life or death chess match for the future of a country where the political endgame is never a forgone conclusion.
Op 3 Oktober 1987 het Charlie-eskadron – die ystervuis van 61 Gemeganiseerde Bataljongroep – die kritieke geveg tussen die Suid-Afrikaanse Weermag en die Angolese magte op die Lombarivier in die suide van Angola gelei. Dié boek plaas die leser in die midde van die jong dienspligtiges wat na die Grensoorlog weggevoer is om hierdie geveg te gaan voer.
Langs die Lomba het hulle te staan gekom teen ’n Angolese mag met ’n getalsoorwig en beter wapentuig. Boonop was die terrein so dig bebos dat hul sig en beweging aansienlik ingeperk is. Die SAW se taktiese doktrine het duidelik gestel dat tenks teen tenks aangewend moes word. Tog moes die dienspligtiges die Angolese tenks aanvat in pantservoertuie met minder kragtige kanonne en dun pantser wat nie veel meer as gewone geweervuur kon afweer nie. Steeds is 47 Brigade van die Angolese magte amper uitgewis tydens die geveg aan die Lomba.
Scholtz se beskrywing van hierdie David-teen-Goliath-geveg neem die leser na die hart van die aksie. Danksy onderhoude met veterane en dagboekinskrywings dra hierdie eerlike, intense hervertelling die volle drama van die geveg oor. Dit is ook ’n diep menslike verhaal oor hoe individue reageer in die aangesig van die dood en hoe die oorlog hulle nooit uit sy kloue gelaat het nie, selfs nadat hulle teruggekeer het.
It is the early 1990s and South Africa is on a knife-edge. Nelson Mandela is free at last, but a peaceful political transition looks impossible. In the midst of all this the NP government faced the ANC at the negotiation table at Codesa. As head of National Intelligence (NI), Niel Barnard was central to this process. He also reveals intriguing details of top-secret meetings between the ANC and the NI in hotel rooms in Europe, and writes about his encounters with the Russian KGB in Moscow.
Thando Manana was the third black African player to don a Springbok jersey after unification in 1992, when he made his debut in 2000 in a tour game against Argentina A.
His route to the top of the game was unpredictable and unusual. From his humble beginnings in the township of New Brighton, Port Elizabeth, Thando grew to become one of the grittiest loose-forwards of South African rugby, despite only starting the game at the age of 16. His rise through rugby ranks, while earning a reputation as a tough-tackling lock and later openside flanker, was astonishingly rapid, especially for a player of colour at the time. Within two years of picking up a rugby ball, he represented Eastern Province at Craven Week, and by 2000 he was a Springbok. But it isn’t solely Thando’s rugby journey that makes Being A Black Springbok a remarkable sports biography. It’s learning how he has negotiated life’s perils and pitfalls, which threatened to derail both his sporting ambitions and the course of his life.
He had to negotiate an unlikely, but fateful, kinship with a known Port Elizabeth drug-lord, who took Thando under his wing when he was a young, gullible up-and-comer at Spring Rose. Rejected by his father early in his life, Thando had to deal with a sense of abandonment and a missing protective figure and find, along the way, people to lean on.
Thando tells his story with the refreshing candour he has become synonymous with as a rugby commentator, pundit and member of the infamous Room Dividers team on Metro FM. He has arguably become rugby’s strongest advocate for the advancement of black people’s interests in the sport, and his personal journey reveals why.
It is well known that the African National Congress was formed in 1912 and is considered the oldest political organisation on the African continent. What is often not widely known is that the person who founded it was one Pixley ka Isaka Seme, a thirty-year-old black South African from Inanda outside the city of Durban.
What is remarkable about Seme’s achievement in founding the ANC is not only that he succeeded where most had failed at forging black political unity. It is also the speed at which he did it. He had just returned to South Africa from the United Kingdom and the United States of America, where he had been a student since he was a teenager. In slightly over a year the founding conference of the ANC was convened and he was at its helm as the main organiser.
Seme also established a national newspaper, became one of the pioneering black lawyers in South Africa, bought land from white farmers for black settlement right at the time when opposition to it was gaining momentum, became a sought-after adviser and confidant to African royalty, and was considered a leading visionary for black economic empowerment. And yet, when he became president general of the ANC in the 1930s, he brought it to its knees through sheer ineptitude and an authoritarian style of leadership. On more than one occasion he was found guilty for breaching the law, which partly led to him being struck off the roll of attorneys.
This book discusses in detail Seme’s extraordinary life, from his humble beginnings at Inanda Mission to his triumphs and disappointments across the continents, in his public and private life. When Seme died in 1951 he was bankrupt and his political standing had suffered greatly. And yet he was praised as one of the greatest South Africans ever to have lived. For all this, he has largely been forgotten. This biography brings the remarkable life of this extraordinary South African back to public consciousness.
At the opening of South Africa's first democratic parliament in 1994, newly elected president Nelson Mandela issued a clarion call to an unlikely group: white Afrikaans women, who during apartheid occupied the ambivalent position of being both oppressor and oppressed. He conjured the memory of poet Ingrid Jonker as `both an Afrikaner and an African' who `instructs that our endeavours must be about the liberation of the woman, the emancipation of the man and the liberty of the child'. More than two decades later, the question is: how have white Afrikaans-speaking women responded to the liberating possibilities of constitutional democracy?
With Afrikaner nationalism in disrepair, and official apartheid in demise, have they re-imagined themselves in opposition to colonial ideas of race, gender, sexuality and class?
Sitting Pretty explores this postapartheid identity through the concepts of ordentlikheid, as an ethnic form of respectability, and the volksmoeder, or mother of the nation, as enduring icon. Issues of intersectionality, space, emotion and masculinity are also investigated.
For years the rumours persisted: the apartheid state was responsible for the continual disappearance and assassination of anti-apartheid activists. Then, in November 1989, former security policeman Captain Dirk Coetzee made the announcement: ‘I was the commander of the South African police death squad. I was in the heart of the whore.’
Despite official denials and cover-ups, the rumours of apartheid’s death squads have now been proved to be all too real. Hundreds of anti-apartheid activists were killed and thousands tortured by a group of bizarre assassins, the foot soldiers of apartheid’s secret war. Jacques Pauw has been more closely involved with apartheid’s killers than any other journalist. For more than seven years, he has hunted them down and become a witness to their secret and forbidden world.
Into The Heart of Darkness is Jacques Pauw's follow-up to In The Heart Of The Whore will take you on a journey into the minds and lives of the men who went out to kill and kill again. What caused these souls to become so dark and guided them to so much evil?
Jacques Pauw is the author of the bestselling book The President’s Keepers. He is an award-winning journalist, television documentary producer and author. This is NOT an updated edition, just a re-release of the original 1997 book.
After matric Lesley took a gap year to the United States. Before she left, her mother, in jest or premonition, said: “Don’t get married and don’t join a cult” – but Lesley ended up in what is considered one of the most dangerous existing cults in America.
In this book Lesley shares the story of her life-changing years with this group – living out of a backpack, an arranged marriage to a Brother, having home births, threats of losing her children and surviving in strange, glorious ways.
Daar is nie ’n grondpad te sinkplaat, plaasdraad te hoog of aanwysings te gebrekkig om Jackie Grobler te keer nie. As hy eers ’n monument in sy visier het, sal hy dit vind.
In hierdie boek reis hy oor berge en dale van Lichtenburg in Noordwes tot die heuwels van Tabankulu in die Oos-Kaap. Grobler reis onder meer op die spoor van Voortrekker Carel Trichardt deur Mpumalanga en in KwaZulu-Natal gaan hy na die slagvelde van die Anglo-Zoeloeoorlog. In Gauteng vind hy monumente ter ere van twee van Suid-Afrika se grootste leiers: Nelson Mandela en Jan Smuts. In die Vrystaat soek hy na oorblyfsels van twee konsentrasiekampe en in Limpopo kom hy af op monumente aan ’n Anglo-Boereoorlogkanon (die Long Tom). Sy reise na die Oos-Kaap neem hom na gedenkplekke vir Steve Biko en in die Wes-Kaap gaan hy op die spoor van die Portugese ontdekkingsreisigers.
Elke provinsie sal ’n kaart hę wat die monumente aandui.
It is September 1987. The Angolan Army – with the support of Cuban troops and Soviet advisors – has built up a massive force on the Lomba River near Cuito Cuanavale in southern Angola. Their goal? To capture Jamba, the headquarters of the rebel group Unita, supported by the South African Defence Force (SADF) in the so-called Border War.
In the battles that followed, and shortly thereafter centred around the small town of Cuito Cuanavale, 3 000 SADF soldiers and 8 000 Unita fighters were up against a much bigger Angolan and Cuban force of over 50 000 men.
Thousands of soldiers died in the vicious fighting that is described in vivid detail in this book. Bridgland pieced together this account through scores of interviews with SADF men who were on the front line. This dramatic retelling takes the reader to the heart of the action.
Ton Vosloo is een van die mees gerekende koerant- en sakemanne in Suid-Afrika. Gedurende sy loopbaan van sowat sestig jaar het Suid-Afrika op politieke front ’n drastiese ommekeer ondergaan: die Nasionale Party het plek gemaak vir ’n ANC-regering, wat gelei het tot transformasie op sosiale, ekonomiese en sakefront.
In 1983 is Vosloo as die besturende direkteur van Naspers aangestel en het hy hom dit ten doel gestel om dié groep – wat in 1913 as mondstuk van die Nasionale Party gestig is – te vernuwe. Vosloo het die maatskappy deur diep, onstuimige waters gestuur: op ideologiese vlak was dit ’n geveg tot die dood toe met die regse Perskor-groep om die steun van Afrikaners te wen.
Naspers moes ook op kommersiële vlak moderniseer. Dit het uiteindelik gelei het tot die stigting van M-Net, Suid-Afrika se eerste betaaltelevisiekanaal. In 1992 is Vosloo as voorsitter van Naspers aangestel en het Koos Bekker die pos as besturende direkteur aanvaar. Onder Bekker se leiding het Naspers belę in die Chinese internetmaatskappy Tencent, en vinnig ontwikkel tot ’n groep wat vandag finansiële belange regoor die węreld het. Dít sou nie moontlik gewees het sonder die fondasie wat Vosloo in die vroeë tagtigs vir sodanige vernuwing gelę het nie.
Oor Grense is Ton Vosloo se memoir oor sy lewe in die koerantwęreld in ’n tyd toe Naspers nog baklei het om die posisie as markleier, ’n tyd toe die koerante binne sy stal baie na aan die politici van die dag gestaan het. Met sy eiesoortige humorsin en styl as gesoute joernalis vertel Ton Vosloo die storie van Naspers en van sy uiteenlopende ervarings as koerantman en sakeleier.
Ook beskikbaar in Engels as Across Boundaries
The first of three volumes, this book traces the leadership thoughts and philosophical disposition of Professor Arthur G.O. Mutambara over a period of 35 years, as his generation sought to become the transformation it wished to see in Zimbabwe.
The trilogy constitutes a fascinating intellectual and political journey by the man who would become Deputy Prime Minister of Zimbabwe at the age of 42. It is a collection of grounded reflections that he expressed over time, as he endeavoured to move, lead and inspire people, while turning strategic thinking into reality through the speed of execution.
Mutambara’s ambition has always been to change the world by igniting citizen activism. It is an epic journey of ideas that created evolutionary and even revolutionary advancement of democratic values, institution-building, social justice, empowerment, shared economic prosperity, people-centred governance and efficacious statecraft. The intrinsic value and relevance of the prescriptions proffered are both enduring and timeless. This volume deals with his formative years and early professional life. This period constitutes the making of a leader of global stature. His profound odyssey of thought leadership started at the age of 16, and moved through the University of Zimbabwe (UZ), where he graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Electrical Engineering. A statement he wrote as a student leader led to the unprecedented closure of UZ. He was injured and detained. His journey of ideas then proceeded to the University of Oxford, where he obtained an MSc in Computer Engineering and a PhD in Robotics and Mechatronics. The next stop was the United States, where he was a Research Scientist at NASA, Professor at MIT and Management Consultant at McKinsey.
The book ends with his return to the continent in 2002, equipped with Pan-African, business- and technology-driven developmental strategies and paradigms.
A young Namibian goes into exile to join SWAPO’s military wing, PLAN, in the late 1970s. After dedicating his life to the movement, a series of purges within the organisation lead to him being wrongfully branded an apartheid spy and traitor. So begins Oiva Angula’s terrifying story of betrayal and torture by his comrades, which culminates in imprisonment in the omalambo – the hidden pits in Lubango, Angola, into which he, along with many others, is cast and left to die.
SWAPO Captive threads together personal narrative and national history, including childhood impressions that hint at a racially segregated existence, the rising tensions sparked by the apartheid regime’s rule over South West Africa, his father’s role in early liberation movements, and Angula’s own politicisation and decision to join the struggle.
SWAPO Captive reveals little-known narratives from ‘the other side’ of the Border War: life in a PLAN training camp, political education in the Eastern Bloc, and a foot soldier’s role in the war for independence.
Angula also addresses the ‘wall of silence’ imposed after independence in Namibia with respect to possible war crimes committed by SWAPO, condemning the party that claimed to fight for freedom for all.
In 1977, RW Johnson’s best-selling How Long Will South Africa Survive? provided a controversial and highly original analysis of the survival prospects of apartheid. Now, after more than twenty years of ANC rule, he believes the situation has become so critical that the question must be posed again.
‘The big question about ANC rule’, he writes, ‘is whether African nationalism would be able to cope with the challenges of running a modern industrial economy. Twenty years of ANC rule have shown conclusively that the party is hopelessly ill-equipped for this task. Indeed, everything suggests that South Africa under the ANC is fast slipping backward and that even the survival of South Africa as a unitary state cannot be taken for granted. The fundamental reason why the question of regime change has to be posed is that it is now clear that South Africa can either choose to have an ANC government or it can have a modern industrial economy. It cannot have both.’
Johnson’s analysis is strikingly original and cogently argued. He has for several decades now been the senior international commentator on South African affairs, known for his lucid analysis and complete lack of deference towards the conventional wisdom.
Without much fanfare Ahmed Kathrada worked alongside Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and other giants in the struggle to end racial discrimination in South Africa. He faced house arrest and many court trials related to his activism until, finally, a trial for sabotage saw him sentenced to life imprisonment alongside Mandela and six others.
Conversations with a Gentle Soul has its origins in a series of discussions between Kathrada and Sahm Venter about his opinions, encounters and experiences. Throughout his life, Kathrada has refused to hang on to negative emotions such as hatred and bitterness. Instead, he radiates contentment and the openness of a man at peace with himself. His wisdom is packaged within layers of optimism, mischievousness and humour, and he provides insights that are of value to all South Africans.
It was in 1972 when the seemingly ordinary Craig Williamson registered at Wits University and joined the National Union of South African Students (NUSAS). Williamson was elected NUSAS’s vice president and in January 1977, when his career in student politics came to an abrupt end, he fled the country and from Europe continued his anti-apartheid ‘work’. But Williamson was not the activist his friends and comrades thought he was. In January 1980, Captain Williamson was unmasked as a South African spy.
Williamson returned to South Africa and during the turbulent 1980s worked for the foreign section of the South African Police’s notorious Security Branch and South Africa’s ‘super-spy’ transformed into a parcel-bomb assassin.
Through a series of interviews with the many people Williamson interacted with while he was undercover and after his secret identity was eventually exposed, Jonathan Ancer details Williamson’s double life, the stories of a generation of courageous activists, and the book eventually culminates with Ancer interviewing South Africa’s ‘super-spy’ face-to-face. It deals with crucial issues of justice, reconciliation, forgiveness, betrayal and the consequences of apartheid that South Africans are still grappling with.
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