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"What are democracies meant to do? And how does one know when one is a democratic state?" These incisive questions and more by leading political scientist, Steven Friedman, underlie this robust enquiry into what democracy means for South Africa post 1994.
Democracy and its prospects are often viewed through a lens which reflects the dominant Western understanding. New democracies are compared to idealised notions of the way in which the system is said to operate in the global North. The democracies of Western Europe and North America are understood to be the finished product and all others are assessed by how far they have progressed towards approximating this model. The goal of new democracies, like South Africa and other developing nation-states, is thus to become like the global North.
Power in Action persuasively argues against this stereotype. Friedman asserts that democracies can only work when every adult has an equal say in the public decisions that affect them. From this point of view, democracies are not finished products and some nations in the global South may be more democratic than their Northern counterparts. Democracy is achieved not by adopting idealised models derived from other societies – rather, it is the product of collective action by citizens who claim the right to be heard not only through public protest action, but also through the conscious exercise of influence on public and private power holders.
Viewing democracy in this way challenges us to develop a deeper understanding of democracy’s challenges and in so doing to ensure that more citizens can claim a say over more decisions in society.
With the spread of capitalism - a socio-economic system that produces both wealth and poverty simultaneously - the spatial dynamics of the "global(izing)" city are creating more division between social classes, not less. This means that in the 21st-century, large cities around the world exhibit intensifying spatial inequality taking the form of a wealthy, privileged urban core ringed by a periphery of lower-income denizens far removed from the city’s resources and amenities.
This trend toward swelling socio-spatial division is especially pronounced in cities purporting to be "global", or in the case of Johannesburg, South Africa’s financial capital, a "world-class African city." Ironically, Johannesburg’s historical legacy of immense spatial inequality thanks to apartheid is the direction in which most "global(izing)" cities such as New York, Cairo, London, Shanghai, New Delhi, Jakarta, Lagos, Berlin, and São Paulo are headed. The globalization of neoliberal urban policy has made the city less welcoming, liveable, accessible and friendly for lower-income city residents.
This book asks if Johannesburg can unstitch its complex urban fabric to create a city with more democratic public transport, affordable housing in desirable locations and safe, socially and racially integrated public spaces. These pithy, solidly researched, accessibly written essays are instructive for all those who are interested in questions of spatial justice, urban development, history and planning and the general goal of making cities more livable and accessible for urban dwellers of all income levels.
In 2015, students at the University of Cape Town demanded the removal of a statue of Cecil Rhodes, the imperialist, racist business magnate, from their campus. The battle cry '#RhodesMustFall' sparked an international movement calling for the decolonisation of the world's universities.
Today, as this movement grows, how will it radically transform the terms upon which universities exist? In this book, students, activists and scholars discuss the possibilities and the pitfalls of doing decolonial work in the home of the coloniser, in the heart of the establishment. Subverting curricula, enforcing diversity, and destroying old boundaries, this is a radical call for a new era of education.
Offering resources for students and academics to challenge and resist coloniality inside and outside the classroom, Decolonising the University provides the tools for radical pedagogical, disciplinary and institutional change.
Charles Abrahams is a world-class lawyer who sued multinationals for colluding with the apartheid government, but at twelve he was determined to become a world-famous heartsurgeon. Then a school inspector shattered his dream: coloured children from the Cape Flats 'should not aim too high'. Class Action is the story of how Charles aimed high anyway, despite a childhood that included forced removal, dire poverty and the deep sense of shame of being neither white nor a 'white coloured'. As one of eleven children in a poor family, he experienced constant hardship and family strife.
Violence was ubiquitous: his street was notorious for its gang fights, his father abused his mother at home, and schoolteachers beat darker-skinned children like him. Charles wanted a larger life, and he found it through student politics, anti-apartheid activism and reading. He studied relentlessly, finding not only formidable political weapons, but a means to delve into the damage apartheid had done to his personal identity, selfesteem, sexuality and morality. He went on to qualify as a lawyer and, after defending local gangsters, he sought to do good through human-rights and class-action law. He has since spearheaded some of South Africa’s most historic, groundbreaking lawsuits, pursuing justice for ordinary citizens whose lives were ruined by powers too profit-driven to ever think about them.
Class Action depicts a remarkable journey of resistance and healing in reaction to institutionalised greed and racism and the harm it has done to our identities, our relationships and the people of our country.
South Africa’s distorted distribution of wealth is one of the biggest challenges facing the country’s economy, with unemployment sitting at an unsustainable 27.7%. In terms of wealth, the top percentile households hold 70.9% while the bottom 60% holds a mere 7%. 76% of South Africans face an imminent threat of falling below the poverty line. With such statistics, the inequality crisis in this country is at a desperate level and strategies to remedy this challenge seem shallow and lack urgency.
In this context, the Institute for African Alternatives has brought together a series of papers written by eminent South African academics and policymakers to serve as a catalyst to finally confront and resolve inequality. With papers from former Public Prosecutor Thuli Madonsela, Ben Turok and former President Kgalema Motlanthe, this book provides a guide to how the nation can confront and resolve the inequality plaguing the country. The nation is headed to the polls later this year and books such as this are vital for providing a strong guide on how those in power can address South Africa’s biggest economic crisis.
A great contribution to the current political discourse, the book both confronts the issue and provides strategies on how to remedy inequality.
Democracy Works asks how we can learn to nurture, deepen and consolidate democracy in Africa. By analyzing transitions within and beyond the continent, the authors identify a 'democratic playbook' robust enough to withstand threats to free and fair elections. However, substantive democracy demands more than just regular polls. It is fundamentally about the inner workings of institutions, the rule of law, separation of powers, checks and balances, and leadership in government and civil society. It is also about values and the welfare and well-being of its citizens, and demands local leadership with a plan for the country beyond simply winning the popular vote.
This volume addresses the political, economic and extreme demographic challenges that Africa faces. It is intended as a resource for members of civil society and as a guide for all who seek to enjoy the political and development benefits of democracy in the world's poorest continent. Finally, it is for donors and external actors who have to face critical decisions--especially after ill-fated electoral interventions such as Kenya 2017--about the future of observer missions and aid promoting democracy and good governance.
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.
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.
It’s been one helluva year – again. We’ve seen Zuma resign as president, the DA go after its own people, Trump exercise his megalomania, the rise of racial tensions (as well as the petrol price) and tempers being flared. All while the Guptas fled the Saxonwold Shebeen.
Who better to make sense of this than Zapiro, political analyst, cartoonist and agent provocateur. He has the ability to knock the air out of us, to rock us back in our seats, to force us bolt upright with a 1000-watt jolt of electrifying shock. He makes us angry, he makes us laugh and he makes us think. He shines a light on the elephant in the room, presents the emperor in all his naked glory. Impossible to brush off, he is determined to provoke a response.
When all around is crumbling, when fake news and zipped lips conceal the truth, Zapiro comes to the rescue. With the dissecting eye of a surgeon, the rapier-like point of his pen exposes flimflam, and reveals with a single line what lies behind the action.
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.
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.
This book celebrates the rich, varied and untold history of investigative journalism in southern Africa and the crucial role it has played in shaping the region over the last 300 years.
It tells of the escapades of those who exposed atrocities of the British colonial rulers, the seizure of land from black owners, apartheid death squads, prison conditions, farm labour, government and corporate corruption, environmental travesty and health issues. Young journalists who have previously studied the likes of the Watergate scandal will have access to African journalists who faced huge risks to expose the abuse of power, ranging from the undercover exploits of the legendary ‘Mr Drum’, through to the recent #Guptaleaks exposé, of which it was said, ‘Seldom have journalists played such a crucial role in bringing a country back from the brink.’ The book highlights the long record of accountability journalism in countries such as South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe, and the recent surge of such work in others such as Botswana and Malawi.
It breaks new ground in stretching the history of this type of journalism decades further back than previously recorded, including largely ignored work such as John Dube’s coverage of the Zulu Bambatha Rebellion and Richard Msimang’s documentation of the impact of land confiscation in the early 20th century.
The book includes an introduction by Anton Harber, editor and professor, and each case study is written up by an expert in the area.
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.
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.
On 5 December 2017 the Steinhoff group was still worth R199 billion. Twenty four hours later more than R160 billion of this fortune was wiped out. The Steinhoff Empire which took 20 years to build into an international business giant, had crumbled overnight.
Markus Jooste, Steinhoff’s flashy CEO, resigned via SMS and has since been fleeing an avalanche of scandals and accusations: luxury homes for a blonde mistress, allegations of fraud, racing horses and unparalleled extravagance, a lavish, black Jaguar for an old university residence...
What exactly happened here? Who knew what? What is Steinhoff, who is Markus Jooste and what does it all have to do with the so called Stellenbosch mafia? Where does business tycoon Christo Wiese, Shoprite and Pepkor fit in and where is the pensioners’ money?
Well-known financial writer James-Brent Styan unpacks these and other questions in this astounding tale of power and greed, of secrets and deceit, and ultimately the biggest financial breakdown in the history of South Africa.
Through interviews with trustworthy sources, revelations from confidential documents and in-depth research about Steinhoff’s history, Styan uncovers what the group doesn’t want you to know.
Follow the Money: The story of Steinhoff, Markus Jooste and the Stellenbosch Boys is a gripping financial thriller that will be told as cautionary tale or salacious scandal in both boardrooms and living rooms for decades to come.
How To Steal A Country describes the vertiginous decline in political leadership in South Africa from Mandela to Zuma and its terrible consequences. Robin Renwick’s account reads in parts like a novel – a crime novel – for Sherlock Holmes old adversary, Professor Moriarty, the erstwhile Napoleon of Crime, would have been impressed by the ingenuity, audacity and sheer scale of the looting of the public purse, let alone the impunity with which it has been accomplished.
Based on Renwick’s personal experiences of the main protagonists, it describes the extraordinary influence achieved by the Gupta family for those seeking to do business with state-owned enterprises in South Africa, and the massive amounts earned by Gupta related companies from their associations with them. The ensuing scandals have engulfed Bell Pottinger, KPMG, McKinsey and other multinationals. The primary responsibility for this looting of the state however, rests squarely with President Zuma and key members of his government. But South Africa has succeeded in establishing a genuinely non-racial society full of determined and enterprising people, offering genuine hope for the future. These include independent journalists, black and white, who refuse to be silenced, and the judges, who have acted with courage and independence.
The book concludes that change will come, either by the ruling party reverting to the values of Mandela and Archbishop Tutu, or by the reckoning it otherwise will face one day.
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.
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.
In 1980’s apartheid Cape Town, five-year-old Desiree-Anne is grappling with how she’s going to turn her tar baby doll’s skin into sweet, soft lily-white. What she has learnt is that Whites are better than "everyone else". She doesn’t know how to force her father to stop drinking or gambling or make her mother love her or get the boys and men to stop touching her in secret. She learns how to soothe the pain: through secret masturbation and lying.
As she grows up, she begins to understand the rules of living in her depressed family as well as in her fractured community.
In her teens, laden with the awkwardness of bushy, unruly hair, braces, and a body shorter and rounder than a Womble – and now firmly planted in a 'White School', Desiree-Anne is forced to confront her ‘Coloured identity crisis’. She turns to self-harm, disordered eating, the thrill of petty theft and escapism through books and acting. Although she wins a place to study drama at UCT, sensing her parents cannot afford the tuition, she opts to go to the UK where she gets lost in bars, clubs and pills. On her return to South Africa she embraces the “free love” Ecstasy trance club scene but when she meets Darren, a heroin addict, she turns to needles. Her search for love and acceptance descends into a self-destructive spiral as an intravenous smack addict.
This is a harrowing memoir on the darkness of addiction, but it is also a touching and sometimes humorous account of a little-girl-turned-woman’s deep need and reckless pursuit for love. When Desiree-Anne finally finds recovery years later, she uncovers her real voice to talk and write about things that were previously left unspoken.
In September 2007, Ellen Pakkies, a working mother from Lavender Hill on the Cape Flats, strangled her son to death. The judge in the subsequent trial sentenced her to community service for her crime. What drove Ellen to commit this horrific deed, and why the ostensibly light sentence for such a heinous crime?
The story of what happened over ten years ago has continued to grip public interest, putting a spotlight on the dire and desperate situation faced by many parents of addicted children. A highly successful play was produced in theatres around South Africa in 2011/12, and a full-length movie has recently been made of this story, which will reach the big screen in September 2018.
When Dealing in Death was first published in 2009, the scourge of drug addiction was sweeping across South Africa, affecting every level of society. Little, if anything, has changed since then, as this new edition reveals. The use of tik, particularly in the Western Cape, has skyrocketed, and it was Abie Pakkies’s addiction to this drug, and the horrendous impact it had on his and his family’s lives, that drove Ellen to murder. Her trial exposed the dark underbelly of a community crippled by drug and alcohol abuse, and focused attention on the plight of those who live in poverty and do not have recourse to drug-rehabilitation centres and other measures effective in the treatment of addicts.
Dealing in Death looks at the global and local drugs culture, the predicament of Ellen Pakkies and other mothers like her, and an impoverished community and the apartheid laws that gave birth to it.
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.
The future of mining in South Africa is hotly contested. Wide-ranging views from multiple quarters rarely seem to intersect, placing emphasis on different questions without engaging in holistic debate.
This book aims to catalyse change by gathering together fragmented views into unifying conversations. It highlights the importance of debating the future of mining in South Africa and for reaching consensus in other countries across the mineral-dependent globe.
It covers issues such as the potential of platinum to spur industrialisation, land and dispossession on the platinum belt, the roles of the state and capital in mineral development, mining in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the experiences of women in and affected by mining since the late 19th century and mine worker organising: history and lessons and how post-mine rehabilitation can be tackled.
It was inspired not only by an appreciation of South Africa’s extensive mineral endowments, but also by a realisation that, while the South African mining industry performs relatively well on many technical indicators, its management of broader social issues leaves much to be desired. It needs to be deliberated whether the mining industry can play as critical a role going forward as it did in the evolution of the country’s economy.
In 2013, former U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden leaked secret documents revealing that state agencies like the NSA had spied on the communications of millions of innocent citizens. International outrage resulted, but the Snowden documents revealed only the tip of the surveillance iceberg. Apart from insisting on their rights to tap into communications, more and more states are placing citizens under surveillance, tracking their movements and transactions with public and private institutions. The state is becoming like a one-way mirror, where it can see more of what its citizens do and say, while citizens see less and less of what the state does, owing to high levels of secrecy around surveillance.
In this book, Jane Duncan assesses the relevance of Snowden’s revelations for South Africa. In doing so she questions the extent to which South Africa is becoming a surveillance society governed by a surveillance state. Duncan challenges members of civil society to be concerned about and to act on the ever-expanding surveillance capacities of the South African state. Is surveillance used for the democratic purpose of making people safer, or is it being used for the repressive purpose of social control, especially of those considered to be politically threatening to ruling interests? She explores the forms of collective action needed to ensure that unaccountable surveillance does not take place and examines what does and does not work when it comes to developing organised responses.
This book is aimed at South African citizens, academics as well as the general reader, who care about our democracy and the direction it is taking.
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 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.
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