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Trying to decide who to vote for in South Africa can be extremely difficult. A black and white issue for some, but shaded with grey for many.
Much has been written about the ANC, their past, their future, their strengths and their shortcomings, but what about the official opposition? Could the DA be a political home for you? Eusebius McKaiser explores this question from a variety of angles – what do the DA get right? What do they get wrong? Is black discomfort with the DA a matter of policy or maybe a question of tone? Do the DA really “get” what worries their critics?
Read Could I Vote DA? and make up your own mind.
The intimate and personal story behind the man who tried to kill Verwoerd but didn’t succeed.
“The raucous wail of sirens pierced the quiet Saturday afternoon, making me drop my book and rush outside to see what drama was taking place. A fleet of cars, their sirens screaming, roared along Oxford Road two hundred yards from our house. I stood on the lawn wondering what on earth it was because sirens were rarely heard near our home. I went back inside; the commotion was over. But within half an hour our telephone started ringing non-stop . . .”
9 April 1960 was the day that changed Susie Cazenove’s life – the day her father, David Pratt, shot the Prime Minister of South Africa, Dr Hendrik Verwoerd. Verwoerd, commonly known as the architect of apartheid, didn’t die, but Pratt’s family lived with the legacy of his action.
A chance encounter with the late David Rattray of Fugitive’s Drift led Cazenove to revisit the memories of that terrible day. With Rattray’s encouragement she put pen to paper to describe the extraordinary events of that day and its consequences. Part family memoir, part ode to the settlement of Johannesburg, Cazenove skilfully weaves her family history and the mood in South Africa in the 1950s and 60s as a background to what may have led her father, a farmer and gentle man, to commit a treasonous act.
RW Johnson's bestselling book How Long Will South Africa Survive? was published at the height of the Zuma presidency. Since then, Cyril Ramaphosa has taken over as president and there have been some attempts to clean up government. But the brief period of 'Ramaphoria' is over and the threat to both the economy and the dream of a non-racial democracy is as real as ever.
As national elections loom, Johnson examines the state of the nation with pinpoint accuracy. On the one hand state-owned institutions are near collapse, municipalities are defunct and civil strife is rampant. On the other, Ramaphosa and his team have come up with a plan to curb corruption and create growth and prosperity.
But will it work?
Once the owner of a diamond mine, a wine farm and the most expensive house in Cape Town.
Former chairman of South Africa’s largest retailer, director of the Reserve Bank and the richest man in the country. As a young man, Christo Wiese cut his teeth at Pep Stores. Over the years he built a mighty business empire, which included Shoprite and a number of other enterprises. His recipe for success: an endless love for cutting deals, a fearless appetite for risk and a keen eye for a bargain. This man of great charm has never been afraid of sailing close to the wind. Over the course of 50 years these calculated risks paid off, making him one of the most successful businessmen of his generation – until he encountered the furniture group Steinhoff, and things went awry. Business journalist and writer TJ Strydom tells the story of one of South Africa’s best-known business giants in a fresh, engaging way.
‘A fabulous, sweeping adventure read – almost a thriller – that chronicles the rags to riches rise of yet another giant of Afrikaner capitalism.’ – Peter Bruce
In spite of Cyril Ramaphosa's "new dawn", there are powerful forces in the ruling party that risk losing everything if corruption and state capture finally do come to an end. At the centre of the old guard's fightback efforts is Ace Magashule, a man viewed by some as South Africa's most dangerous politician.
In this explosive book, investigative journalist Pieter-Louis Myburgh ventures deeper than ever before into Magashule's murky dealings, from his time as a struggle activist in the 1980s to his powerful rule as premier of the Free State province for nearly a decade, and his rise to one of the ANC's most influential positions. Sifting through heaps of records, documents and exclusive source interviews, Myburgh explores Magashule's relationship with the notorious Gupta family and other tender moguls; investigates government projects costing billions that enriched his friends and family but failed the poor; reveals how he was about to be arrested by the Scorpions before their disbandment in the late 2000s; and exposes the methods used to keep him in power in the Free State and to secure him the post of ANC secretary-general.
Most tellingly, Myburgh pieces together a pack of leaked emails and documents to reveal shocking new details on a massive Free State government contract and Magashule's dealings with a businessman who was gunned down in Sandton in 2017. These files seem to lay bare the methods of a man who usually operated without leaving a trace.
Gangster State is an unflinching examination of the ANC's top leadership in the post-Jacob Zuma era, one that should lead readers to a disconcerting conclusion: When it comes to the forces of capture, South Africa is still far from safe.
Africa Reimagined is a passionately argued appeal for a rediscovery of our African identity. Going beyond the problems of a single country, Hlumelo Biko calls for a reorientation of values, on a continental scale, to suit the needs and priorities of Africans. Building on the premise that slavery, colonialism, imperialism and apartheid fundamentally unbalanced the values and indeed the very self-concept of Africans, he offers realistic steps to return to a more balanced Afro-centric identity.
Historically, African values were shaped by a sense of abundance, in material and mental terms, and by strong ties of community. The intrusion of religious, economic and legal systems imposed by conquerors, traders and missionaries upset this balance, and the African identity was subsumed by the values of the newcomers. Biko shows how a reimagining of Africa can restore the sense of abundance and possibility, and what a rebirth of the continent on Pan-African lines might look like. This is not about the churn of the news cycle or party politics – although he identifies the political party as one of the most pernicious legacies of colonialism. Instead, drawing on latest research, he offers a practical, pragmatic vision anchored in the here and now.
By looking beyond identities and values imposed from outside, and transcending the divisions and frontiers imposed under colonialism, it should be possible for Africans to develop fully their skills, values and ingenuity, to build institutions that reflect African values, and to create wealth for the benefit of the continent as a whole.
Throughout the past 50 years, the courts have been a battleground for contesting political forces as more and more conflicts that were once fought in Parliament or in streets, or through strikes and media campaigns, find their way to the judiciary.
Certainly, the legal system was used by both the apartheid state and its opponents. But it is in the post-apartheid era, and in particular under the rule of President Jacob Zuma, that we have witnessed a dramatic increase in ‘lawfare’: the migration of politics to the courts.
The authors show through a series of case studies how just about every aspect of political life ends up in court: the arms deal, the demise of the Scorpions, the Cabinet reshuffle, the expulsion of the EFF from Parliament, the nuclear procurement process, the Cape Town mayor…
Coming of age in South Africa as apartheid falls, a young mixed-race woman struggles to overcome her identity and heritage.
Born into poverty and state-mandated third-class status, Jesmane was weighed down by self-doubt, feelings of inferiority and shame even though she was at the top of her class and showed great promise. After graduating from a prestigious South African university, earning a master's degree at Harvard University and becoming Head of Business Engagement for Africa at the World Economic Forum, she continued to wrestle with internal conflicts and contradictions stemming from her past. In this touching memoir, Jesmane and various South African colleagues explore their early lives, embrace the crippling contradictions forced upon them by apartheid, and craft new narratives for themselves, narratives of acceptance, inclusion, and boundless possibilities.
As a mixed-race (coloured) woman, whose genes connect her with all parts of Africa, as well as East Asia, South Asia, Germany, Wales, Netherlands, and other parts of the world, Jesmane is a microcosm of nations riven by internal strife. She reconciled with herself by deliberately turning to the conflicts and contradictions within. Doing so forced her to explore her past, grapple with lingering emotions, and come to a new understanding of herself, to a new healing. Our world today, divided and fractured, would benefit from a similar process of self-reconciliation, of exploration of national and individual stories, followed by the embrace of contradictions and the crafting of new narratives of acceptance, inclusion, and boundless possibilities.
The stories Jesmane tells in this book - her story, and those of people from around the world spanning from US, Mexico across to India, Pakistan, Nepal and to Rwanda - can bring healing and inspiration to all.
(Jesmane Boggenpoel is an experienced business executive and a former Head of Business Engagement for Africa at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. She has served on the boards of various South African and international organisations. She is a Chartered Accountant (South Africa) and holds a Master's degree from Harvard University's JFK School of Government. Jesmane was honoured as a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum and is a Harvard Mason fellow.)
In 2015 and 2016 waves of student protest swept across South African campuses under the banner of FeesMustFall. This book offers a historical perspective, analysing regional influences on the ideologies that have underpinned South African student politics from the 1960s to the present. The author considers the history of student organisations in the Northern Transvaal (today Limpopo Province) and the ways in which students and youth influenced political change on a national scale, over generations.
The University of the North at Turfloop played an integral role in building the South African Students’ Organisation (SASO) in the late 1960s and propagating Black Consciousness in the 1970s; in the 1980s it became an ideological battleground where Black Consciousness advocates and ANC-affiliates competed for influence. Limpopo has remained a hotbed of political activism in the country. Generations of nationally prominent student and youth activists became politically conscientised here – among them Julius Malema, Onkgopotse Tiro, Cyril Ramaphosa, Frank Chikane and Peter Mokaba.
Turfloop (University of Limpopo) has remained politically significant in the post-apartheid era: it was here in 2007 that Julius Malema supported Jacob Zuma’s ascension to the South African presidency during the ANC’s pivotal party conference that resulted in the ousting of Thabo Mbeki.
“Rebels And Rage is a critically important contribution to public discussion about #FeesMustFall”–Eusebius McKaiser
Adam Habib, the most prominent and outspoken university official through the recent student protests, takes a characteristically frank view of the past three years on South Africa’s campuses in this new book. Habib charts the progress of the student protests that erupted on Wits University campus in late 2015 and raged for the better part of three years, drawing on his own intimate involvement and negotiation with the students, and also records university management and government responses to the events. He critically examines the student movement and individual student leaders who emerged under the banners #feesmustfall and #Rhodesmustfall, and debates how to achieve truly progressive social change in South Africa, on our campuses and off.
This book is both an attempt at a historical account and a thoughtful reflection on the issues the protests kicked up, from the perspective not only of a high-ranking member of university management, but also Habib as political scientist with a background as an activist during the struggle against apartheid. Habib moves between reflecting on the events of the last three years on university campuses, and reimagining the future of South African higher education.
When working on the UNESCO Slave Route project in the early 2000s, Botlhale Tema discovered the extraordinary fact that her highly educated family from the farm Welgeval in the Pilanesberg had originated with two young men who had been child slaves in the midnineteenth century. She pieced together the fragments of information from relatives and members of the community, and scoured the archives to produce this book.
Land Of My Ancestors, previously published as The People Of Welgeval, tells the story of the two young men and their descendants, as they build a life for themselves on Welgeval. As they raise their families and take in people who have been dispossessed, we follow the births, deaths, adventures and joys of the farm’s inhabitants in their struggle to build a new community.
Set against the backdrop of slavery, colonialism, the Anglo-Boer War and the rise of apartheid, this is a fascinating and insightful retelling of history. It is an inspiring story about friendship and family, landownership and learning, and about how people transform themselves from victims to victors.
A new prologue and epilogue give more historical context to the narrative and tell the story of the land claim involving the farm, which happened after the book’s original publication.
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.
Steve Joubert had always wanted to be a pilot and the only way he could afford to do so, was to join the South African Air Force in the late 1970s.
As an adventurous young man with a wicked sense of humour, he tells of the many amusing escapades he had as a trainee pilot. But soon he is sent to fight in the Border War in northern Namibia (then South West Africa) where he is exposed to the carnage of war. The pilots of the Alouette helicopters were witness to some of the worst scenes of the Border War. Often, they were the first to arrive after a deadly landmine accident.
In the fiercest battles their gunships regularly supplied life-saving air cover to troops on the ground.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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 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.’
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