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This extraordinary account of imprisonment shows with exacting clarity the awful injustices of the system. Sylvia Neame, activist against apartheid and racism and by profession a historian (see the three-volume, The Congress Movement, HSRC Press, 2015), has not written a classical historical memoir. Rather, this book is a highly personal account, written in an original style. At the same time, it casts a particularly sharp light on the unfolding of a policedominated apartheid system in the 1960s.
The author incorporates some of her experiences in prisons and police stations around the country, including the fabricated trial she faced while imprisoned in Port Elizabeth, one of the many such trials which took place in the Eastern Cape. But her focus is on Barberton Prison. Here she was imprisoned together with a small number of other white women political prisoners, most of whom had stood trial and been sentenced in Johannesburg in 1964–5 for membership to an illegal organisation, the Communist Party. It is a little known story. Not even the progressive party MP Helen Suzman found her way here.
Barberton Prison, a maximum security prison, part of a farm jail complex in the eastern part of what was then known as the Transvaal province, was far from any urban centre. The women were kept in a small space at one end of the prison in extreme isolation under a regime of what can only be called psychological warfare, carried out on the instructions of the ever more powerful (and corrupt) security apparatus. A key concern for the author was the mental and psychological symptoms which emerged in herself and her fellow prisoners and the steps they took to maintain their sanity. It is a narrative partly based on diary entries, written in a minute hand on tissue paper, which escaped the eye of the authorities. Moreover, following her release in April 1967 – she had been altogether incarcerated for some three years – she produced a full script in the space of two or three months. The result is immediacy, spontaneity, authenticity; a story full of searing detail. It is also full of a fighting spirit, pervaded by a sharp intellect, a capacity for fine observation and a sense of humour typical of the women political prisoners at Barberton.
A crucial theme in Sylvia Neame’s account is the question of whether something positive emerged out of her experience and, if so, what exactly it was.
We Are No Longer At Ease is a collection of personal articles, essays, speeches and poetry mainly from voices of young people who were part of the student-led protest movement known as #FeesMustFall which began in 2015. It tells the journey of a youth that participated in a movement that redefined politics in post-apartheid South Africa and is the evidence of a “born free” generation telling their own story and leading discourse as well as action on transforming South Africa.
The collection includes works by the young student leaders turned academic and public commentators such as David Maimela, Thapelo Tselapedi and Sisonke Msimang; student newspaper journalists that were covering the protests like Natasha Ndlebe; public writing commentators with aims to inform and teach the broader South African society about the aspects of the movement like Yamkela Spengane and Rofhiwa Maneta; lecturers who were assisting the students articulate and find clarity in the way they shaped and voiced their ideas such as Sabelo Ndlovu-Gatsheni and then of course others were foot soldiers on the ground leading students through the police brutality of rubber bullets and pepper spray like Loverlyn Nwandeyi, Ntokozo Qwabe and Ramabina Mahapa.
Licence To Loot is a fast-paced, hard-hitting investigation into parastatal looting, written by journalist Stephan Hofstatter. At the centre of the story is Eskom, the largest power utility in Africa, which could determine the success or failure of South Africa’s economy.
Hofstatter’s story begins in 2016, with the Guptas’ controversial purchase of Optimum coal mine and Eskom chief executive Brian Molefe’s key role in the deal. From there it takes the reader on a journey from secret meetings in London hotel rooms to a clandestinely purchased bolthole on a Dubai golf estate, uncovering the corrupt acquisition of a private jet along the way. From the diary entries of a Saxonwold security guard to first-hand accounts of backroom dealmaking, it traces the origins of a shadowy network between the Guptas and Eskom that ultimately allowed the family to extract billions of rands from the parastatal.
Licence To Loot reveals the complicated deals and machinations underpinning state capture and the subsequent ministerial and board appointments that ceded the control of the country’s parastatals, including Eskom, Transnet, SAA and Denel, to Gupta-linked moneymen.
The book is particularly relevant in the current political climate as it focuses on the impact of state capture, not just its origins, and takes the story beyond the Zuma presidency.
In 1993 South Africa state president F.W. de Klerk and African National Congress (ANC) leader Nelson Mandela were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize ‘for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime’. Yet, while both deserved the plaudits they received for entering the negotiations that led to the end of apartheid, the four years of negotiations preceding the April 1994 elections, known as the transition era, were not ‘peaceful’: they were the bloodiest of the entire apartheid era, with an estimated 14,000 deaths attributed to politically related violence.
This book studies, for the first time, the conflicts between the ANC and the Inkatha Freedom Party that took place in South Africa’s industrial heartland surrounding Johannesburg. Exploring these events through the perceptions and memories of combatants and non-combatants from war-torn areas, along with security force members, politicians and violence monitors, offers new possibilities for understanding South Africa’s turbulent transition.
Challenging the prevailing narrative which attributes the bulk of the violence to a joint state security force and IFP assault against ANC supporters, the author argues for a more expansive approach that incorporates the aggression of ANC militants, the intersection between criminal and political violence, and especially clashes between groups aligned with the ANC.
The death of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela on 2 April this year unleashed a hailstorm of opinion. On one side, Winnie's legacy was under construction by the media and public in the shadow of her sanctified ex-husband, casting Winnie as history's loser.
Msimang - who in the last few years has reflected extensively on Winnie Madikizela-Mandela - stood on the side of a younger generation, particularly of black women, who sought to reclaim Ma Winnie's identity as an extraordinary woman and fierce political activist. Examining that early impulse, Msimang has written a succinct, razor-sharp book. It is a primer for young feminists, popular culture enthusiasts and those interested in the politics of memory, reconciliation and justice, and a book that is as much about a woman as it is about the country she left behind.
The Resurrection of Winnie Mandela is an astute examination of one of South Africa's most controversial political figures. It charts the rise and fall - and rise, again - of a woman who not only battled the apartheid regime, but the patriarchal character of the society that moulded her. In telling Ma Winnie's story, Sisonke Msimang demonstrates the vital link between reclaiming the lives of one complex woman, and activism aimed at restoring the dignity of all women.
South Africa achieved notoriety for its apartheid policies and practices both in the country and in Namibia. Today Israel stands accused of applying apartheid in the Palestinian territories it has occupied since 1967. Confronting Apartheid examines the regimes of these three societies from the perspective of the author’s experiences as a human rights lawyer in South Africa and Namibia and as a UN human rights envoy in occupied Palestine.
Most personal histories of apartheid in Southern Africa tell the story of the armed struggle. This book is about opposition to apartheid within the law and through the law. The successes and failures of civil society and lawyers in this endeavour are described in the context of the discriminatory and oppressive regime of apartheid. The author’s own experiences in Namibia and South Africa serve to illustrate the injustices of the regime and the avenues left to lawyers to advance human rights within the law. The end of apartheid and the transition to democracy are also described through the experiences of the author.
The book concludes with an account of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories of East Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank and the author’s work as human rights investigator and reporter for the United Nations. This involves the examination of issues such as the construction of Jewish settlements, the demolition of Palestinian homes, the restrictions on freedom of movement and the attacks on the life and liberty of Palestinians which the author argues constitute an oppressive regime falling within the definition of apartheid under international law. A separate chapter is devoted to the situation in Gaza which was closely monitored by the author for nearly a decade. Namibia, South Africa and Palestine are dealt with separately with introductions designed to ensure that the reader is provided with the necessary historical, political and legal background material.
Successful businessman, Mkhuseli Khusta Jack, overcame incredible odds after being evicted from his farm home at the age of 6 with his 8 siblings. Desperate for schooling, he walked for kilometres, slept in outbuildings, begged for an education and eventually enrolled at the age of 10. But the political climate was volatile and he quickly became involved in politics.
As an activist, he was arrested on several occasions, most notably during the 1980 school boycotts. He helped establish the PE Youth Congress, one of the many organisations that joined the UDF. Jack was instrumental in organising the consumer boycott campaign (EC). He was arrested, jailed and tortured for his role in the movement. Before Mandela’s release, Jack was amongst the political consultants during the democratic negotiations but decided to finally finish his studies and chose education above politics.
A story of sheer determination and triumph with commendations by Thabo Mbeki, Dali Mpofu and Kgalema Motlanthe.
The 2017 publication of Betrayal of the Promise, the report that detailed the systematic nature of state capture, marked a key moment in South Africa's most recent struggle for democracy. In the face of growing evidence of corruption and of the weakening of state and democratic institutions, it provided, for the first time, a powerful analysis of events that helped galvanise resistance within the Tripartite Alliance and across civil society.
Working often secretly, the authors consolidated, for the first time, large amounts of evidence from a variety of sources. They showed that the Jacob Zuma administration was not simply a criminal network but part of an audacious political project to break the hold of whites and white business on the economy and to create a new class of black industrialists. State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) such as Eskom and Transnet were central to these plans. The report introduced a whole new language to discuss state capture, showing how SOEs were `repurposed', how political power was shifting away from constitutional bodies to `kitchen cabinets', and how a `shadow state' at odds with the country's constitutional framework was being built.
Shadow State is an updated version of the original, explosive report that changed South Africa's recent history.
Between 2013 and 2017, a team of researchers from the Human Sciences Research Council undertook a longitudinal qualitative study that tracked eighty students from eight diverse universities in South Africa and documented their experiences at these higher education institutions. Midway through the study, the student protests erupted and focused national attention on many of the stories we had already heard. In the subsequent years of the study, we also heard from students who were actively involved in these transformation struggles as well as those who sat on the side-lines.
Studying While Black is an intimate portrait of the many ways in which students in South Africa experience university, and the centrality of race and geography in their quest for education and ultimately emancipation. Students voices can be heard directly in a 45 minute documentary that accompanied this study entitled Ready or Not!: Black students’ experiences of South African universities – freely available on social media.
Albertina Sisulu is revered by South Africans as the true mother of the nation. A survivor of the golden age of the African National Congress, whose life with the second most important figure in the ANC exemplified the underpinning role of women in the struggle against apartheid.
In 1944 she was the sole woman at the inaugural meeting of the radical offshoot of the ANC, the Youth League, with Walter Sisulu, Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo and Anton Lembede in the vanguard. Her final years were spent in an unpretentious house in the former white Johannesburg suburb of Linden. A friend said of her, "she treated everybody alike. But her main concern was the welfare of our women and children." This abridged account of Sisulu’s overflowing life provides a fresh understanding of an iconic figure of South African history.
This new abridged memoir is written by Sindiwe Magona, one of South Africa’s most prolific authors, and Elinor Sisulu, writer, activist and daughter-in-law of Albertina.
Breaking a Rainbow, Building a Nation covers the university protests that took place in 2015–2016, better known as the #FeesMustFall protests. Rekgotsofetse (Kgotsi) gives us his first-hand account of what happened prior to the protests and what led to the events of October 2015 at the various university campuses and nationally.
This is a four-part retelling of what happened on the ground amongst the students, first at #RhodesMustFall, then moving to the university responses and management and what ultimately led to #FeesMustFall nationwide. Chikane then looks at student politics now and how they are different from 1976, specifically the fact that the protests were being led by so-called coconuts, who are part of the black elite.
The book poses the provocative question, can coconuts be trusted with the revolution?
On 2 February 1959, a musical about the life and times of heavyweight boxing star Ezekiel Dhlamini (known as 'King Kong') opened in Johannesburg to a packed audience that included Nelson Mandela. King Kong was not just South Africa's first ever musical, but one that grew out of a collaboration between black people and white, and showcased an all-black cast.
It was an instant hit, bursting through the barriers of apartheid and eventually playing to 200,000 South Africans of every colour before transferring to London's West End. Pat Williams, the show's lyricist, was at the time an apolitical young woman trying to free herself from the controls and prejudices of the genteel white society in which she lived. Here she recounts her experience of growing up in a divided South Africa, her involvement in the musical, and its lasting impact both on herself and on the show's cast, many of whom went on to find international fame, like South African jazz legends Miriam Makeba and Hugh Masekela. Her memoir takes the story up to the present day.
It is both a vivid evocation of a troubled time and place as well as a celebration of a joyous production, in which a group of young people came together in South Africa's dark times - to create a show which still lives on today.
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.
Van laaitie tot politieke kryger, bandiet tot generaal-majoor, ondergrondse operateur tot presidensiële lyfwag…
Van sy kleintyd in Elsiesrivier neem Jeremy Vearey se lewe talle onvoorspelbare wendings. Sy eiesoortige vertelling sluit die ouere manne van sy jeug in, die ooms by die damstafel, kerkjeugkampe en die Kommuniste-manifes, skoolhou en ondergrondse werk vir MK, en sy aanhouding op Robbeneiland. As Mandela se lyfwag help hy ’n opstand in die Karoo ontlont, voor hy deel word van die nuwe SAPD, waar hy saam met die gewese vyand terrorisme en Kaapse bendes takel.
En onder alles loop ’n donker stroom.
Accessible and engaging short stories about Nelson Mandela, to celebrate 100 years since his birth.
How do you retell the well-worn life story of a national icon? One way is this: a palimpsest of a hundred memories of the great man, revolutionary, world leader, and family figure, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of his birth. Kate Sidley offers renewed and touching insight into Mandela by retelling humorous, heart-warming and momentous moments from his life, roughly chronologically, drawing from his own writing and the memories of contemporaries, historians and ordinary people. The reading experience is multi-varied and complex, touching and inspiring, like Madiba himself.
100 Mandela Moments is divided into sections, according to the many roles Mandela played in his lifetime: the school boy, the student, the lawyer, the outlaw, the prisoner, the negotiator, the statesman, the elder. Each story or “moment” is short and encapsulates something about the man behind the legend, and the book can be read cover to cover or dipped into.
In the South African House of Assembly, on 6 September 1966, Dimitri Tsafendas stabbed to death Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd. Afterwards, Tsafendas was declared to be a schizophrenic who believed a tapeworm lived inside him which controlled his actions, and that he had no political motive for assassinating Verwoerd. Pronounced unfit to stand trial, Tsafendas went down in history as a deranged parliamentary messenger. For fifty years, this story prevailed. However, this book now reveals the truth about Tsafendas; that he was deeply political from an early age.
He was arrested numerous times, starting in Mozambique, the country of his birth. In Portugal, the security police opened a file on him in 1938, when he was aged only twenty. After the assassination, Tsafendas volunteered a series of incontestable political reasons for killing Verwoerd, but these, along with details of his political past, were never allowed to see the light of day. This book reveals the extent of the cover-up by South Africa’s authorities and the desperate lengths they went to conceal the existence of Tsafendas’s opposition to apartheid. The book exposes one of the great lies in South African history, that Verwoerd was murdered by a mad man. It also offers for the first time a complete biography of this extraordinary man.
Advocate George Bizos characterised Dousemetzis’s work on Tsafendas and Verwoerd’s assassination as ‘monumental’ and of being ‘of major historical importance for South Africa and as to our understanding of Verwoerd’s assassination’. Professor John Dugard said ‘South African history should know the truth about Tsafendas. Dousemetzis has done South Africa a service by correcting the historical record.’
Written like a thriller in the engaging style of his previous best sellers about the liberation struggle, this book takes up the tale in 2004 when Ronnie Kasrils became Minister of Intelligence, and continues to the present day.
Kasrils fought against the lies and abuses of state resources at the cost of his party popularity. His struggle for the truth, for that is what the book is about, covers the tumultuous years that saw Mbeki’s overthrow and replacement by Zuma at the ANC’s Polokwane Conference, the scandal around the Nkandla property, growing militarisation of the police resulting in the Marikana Massacre, the outrageous appointment of flunkies to high office, the present “state capture” report and the unseemly relationship with the Gupta group. The confusion engendered by Zuma has led Kasrils to explain theenigma and contradictions of the man giving rise to the book’s title. But uppermost in his mind is to explain that corruption and the abuse of power does not begin with Zuma. His thesis points to the compromises on the economy going back to Mandela and the negotiations of the 1990s which he refers to as a “Faustian Pact.” Political power but not control of the economy occurred.
The latter factor has given rise to the problems of inequality, unemployment, poverty, protest and frustration that besets the country. Kasrils argues that the scandalous corruption and crony capitalism under Zuma is symptomatic of underlying contradictions. Merely replacing Zuma without dealing with the economic factors will not solve the problem and time is running out. Kasrils suggests firm remedies to urgently turn around the situation in the interests of all.
A Simple Man: Kasrils And The Zuma Enigma is a gripping page-turner that courageously exposes the intrigues underway and threats to our young democracy. A stark warning rings out of what may face us all if urgent systemic remedies are not taken.
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.
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 exposé 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.
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.
Scholars agree that a direct correlation can be made between poor governance and the emergence of extremist movements. As UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres puts it: ‘I am convinced that the creation of open, equitable, inclusive and pluralist societies, based on the full respect of human rights and with economic opportunities for all, represents the most tangible and meaningful alternative to violent extremism.’ This book challenges both the efficacy and wisdom of purely militarised responses to extremist movements typified by the Global War on Terror, as well as the cursory replication of international counter-terrorism frameworks promulgated by the United Nations and European Union in Africa.
Emphasis is given to the importance of understanding local history, culture and regional geopolitics, among a variety of context-specific factors to truly understand and thereby effectively address the emergence and spread of extremisms in Africa. As such, it draws on contributions from a range of thematic and regional experts, including security-sector specialists, conflict analysts, journalists, international relations and governance specialists, political scientists, social anthropologists, psychologists and theologians, among others. A diverse range of extremist movements on the continent are examined, from radicalised religious groups to race-based organisations.
These case studies provide in-depth insight into answering why and how these movements came to be, while thematic chapters address issues pertinent to addressing them, such as public perceptions of extremism, methods of recruitment and radicalization among marginalised communities, supporting survivors of extremism and former combatants, strategic approaches to counter-terrorism and the role of governance, among others.
This is an introductory anthology and the first of its kind on this topic to be authored and published in the African continent.
A fresh, different perspective on South African politics.
Many common political arguments come pre-packaged in a very old and dusty box – and in this book, Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh sets out to dismantle that box. The self-evident truths are not so inarguable. He argues that free education is far from impossible, land reform is not the first step to chaos, and the media is not free…
In this incisive, informed book we find challenges to commonly held opinions and new solutions to old problems.
The early years of Zimbabwe’s independence were blighted by conflict and bloodshed, culminating in the Gukurahundi massacres of 1983 and 1984. Historian Stuart Doran explores these events in unprecedented detail, drawing on thousands of previously unpublished documents, including classified records from Mugabe’s Central Intelligence Organisation, apartheid South Africa, the UK, USA, Australia and Canada.
This groundbreaking book charts the development of an intense rivalry between two nationalist parties – Mugabe’s Zanu and Nkomo’s Zapu – and reveals how Zanu’s victory in the 1980 elections was followed by a carefully orchestrated five-year plan, driven by Mugabe, which sought to smash all forms of political opposition and impose a one-party state. Doran shows not only what happened during Zimbabwe’s darkest chapter, but also why this cataclysm occurred. In an expansive narrative saturated with new findings, he documents a culture of political intolerance in which domination and subjugation became the only options, and traces the rise of key proponents of this supremacist ideology.
Kingdom, Power, Glory is the most comprehensive history of Zimbabwe’s formative years and is essential reading for anyone hoping to understand the Mugabe regime, then and now.
The Detainees’ Parents Support Committee (DPSC) was started in 1981 in Johannesburg, South Africa. It was set up by the parents, spouses and families of activists who were detained and had no recourse to legal intervention. Many in this movement had not been politically involved.
Members of the DPSC stood on street corners with placards calling for the release of their children. They organised food, clothing and legal representation for detainees across the country, and they supported the detainees’ families. DPSC activists marched, petitioned, argued, wrote and protested for the release of all detainees. They made public the brutal operations of the security establishment.
The DPSC helped to draw international attention to the atrocities being perpetuated against children – some as young as nine – by the apartheid state. And the evidence amassed by the DPSC helped to lay some of the groundwork for South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).
The Knock On The Door tells the story of the DPSC and of how the anti-detention movement became part of the mass uprising that brought down apartheid. It is an inspiring account of ordinary people coming together to stand up against racism and the abuse of power.
A great deal of the revolutionary work that Charles Nqakula undertook as an ANC underground cadre and combatant of Umkhonto we Sizwe was in the Eastern Cape. This book is a well-documented and detailed recollection of those difficult and dangerous times when detention, imprisonment, torture, and even death were always imminent.
It required massive courage and heroism to be part of that array of outstanding leaders and cadres of the revolutionary movements. Readers will be convinced that Charles and his wife/partner Nosiviwe were selfless, dedicated, loyal, disciplined, and brave freedom fighters. This book is noteworthy because Charles remembers, gives due credit, and attaches names to the many comrades who participated in that heroic struggle with him and Nosiviwe. It is difficult to understand and appreciate the dialectical interconnectedness of the individual and the collective. The collective is always more important than the individual but the collective is at the same time the sum total of the individual contributions. In this book, Charles successfully portrays that delicate and complex relationship.
The People’s War describes the work undertaken by Charles and Nosiviwe in the ANC underground and MK units in a dispassionate manner without any self-praise or grandstanding. Charles also recounts how Nosiviwe nearly lost her life in an ambush carried out by Unita on an MK convoy as well as an attempted assassination outside their home in Cyrildene. In the latter chapters of the book, Charles writes about political developments and processes from 1990 up to the present time. He recounts his work as a mediator in the conflicts in Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, and Mauritania, the pain and anguish at the tragic murder of their son, Chumani Siyavuya, and comments on the debilitating challenges of factionalism, election slates, and corruption degrading the integrity, unity, reputation, values, and electoral support of the ANC.
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