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Africa and the World: Navigating Shifting Geopolitics is one of the first books to analyse the global geopolitical landscape from an African perspective, with a view to the opportunities and challenges facing the African continent. Authors in this edited volume argue for the need to re-imagine Africa's role in the world.
As a cradle of humanity, a historical fountain of profound scientific knowledge, an object of colonial conquest and, today, a collective of countries seeking to pool their sovereignties in order to improve the human condition, Africa has a unique opportunity to advance its own interests. Authors reﬂect on all these issues; they outline how developments in the global political economy impact on the continent and, inversely, how Africa can develop a strategic perspective that takes into account the dynamics playing out in a fraught global terrain.
Central to this evaluation is the notion of 'island Africa' a vast island - with resources that extend into the oceans around it - that is a strategic centre by virtue of its geographic location, its endowments and its long-term potential. Authors assert that the positioning of 'island Africa' presents unique political, security and geo-economic beneﬁ ts. Yet they also acknowledge that, as has happened historically, these very advantages can serve as a basis for new forms of domination and exploitation. In addition, this volume takes into account the socio-psychological factors that inﬂuence how nations of the world receive and interpret the present, and assess prospects for the future.
The authors go beyond analysis of what is, to venture concrete proposals on what can be, with Africa exercising its agency. This requires the strengthening of continental integration and cohesion in pursuit of ideals that the African Union has enshrined in Agenda 2063. In this way, Africa would be able to engage - in a systemic and disciplined manner - with external powers to assert the continent's own interests which, in their framing, are also the interests of humanity. A continent united in both purpose and action can be an active agent in shaping the evolving global order. This volume makes a strong case for precisely such a perspective and contributes to what should be an ongoing effort to analyse geopolitics with Africa as a critical frame of reference.
It’s easy to imagine that state capture began with Jacob Zuma and the Guptas. But you’d be wrong.
Born out of the ANC Women’s League 20 years ago, Bosasa has come to be described as the ANC’s ‘Heart of Darkness’. At its helm today is Gavin Watson, a struggle-rugby-player-turned-tenderpreneur who made it his business to splash out on gifts and cash to get up close and personal with the country’s top politicians and civil servants. In return, Bosasa won tenders to the tune of billions of rands and – with friends in high places – stayed clear of prosecution. Adriaan Basson has been investigating Bosasa since he was a rookie journalist 13 years ago. He has been sued, intimidated and threatened, but has stuck to the story like a bloodhound. Now, in the wake of the explosive findings of the Zondo commission, he has weaved the threads of Bosasa’s story together.
Blessed by Bosasa is a riveting in-depth investigation into an extraordinary story of high-level corruption and rampant pillage, of backdoor dealings and grandiose greed. Through substantial research and a number of interviews with key individuals, Basson unveils the shady, cult-like underbelly of the criminal company that held the Zuma government in the palm of its hand.
Cape Town, 2018. South Africa’s mother city is wracked by drought. The prospect of premier Helen Zille’s ‘Day Zero’ – the day when all taps run dry – is driving its citizens into a frenzy. When it’s announced that Mayor Patricia de Lille is off the water crisis, the predicament reaches its zenith and politicians turn upon each other.
And so begins a stupendous battle within the Democratic Alliance: who will lead Cape Town? It’s during this time that author and researcher Crispian Olver applies to the City of Cape Town to gain access to certain official documents as part of a research project. He is baffled when his application is rejected without explanation, but this only strengthens his resolve to explore how the city of his childhood is run. In particular, he has his sights set on the relationship between city politicians and property developers.
Olver interviews numerous individuals, including many ‘chopped’ from the city administration. What he uncovers is a pandora’s box of backstabbing, in-fighting and backroom deals. He explores dodgy property developments at Wescape and Maiden’s Cove, delves into attempts to ‘hijack’ civic associations, and exposes the close yet precautious relationship between the mayor and City Hall’s so-called ‘laptop boys’. But his main goal is to understand what led to the political meltdown within the Democratic Alliance, and the defection of De Lille to form her own party.
This is the go-to guide for confused South Africans and all those seeking an informed, balanced and up-to-date analysis of South African politics and society in the Ramaphosa era.
When Nelson Mandela emerged from decades in jail to preach reconciliation, South Africans appeared to many as a people reborn as the Rainbow Nation. Yet, a quarter of a century later, the country sank into bitter recriminations and rampant corruption under Jacob Zuma. Why did this happen, and how was hope betrayed? President Cyril Ramaphosa, hoping to heal these wounds, was re-elected in May 2019 with the ANC hoping to claw back support lost to the opposition in the Zuma era. This book analyses this election, shedding light on voters’ choices.
With chapters on all the major issues at stake – from education to land redistribution – Understanding South Africa offers insights into Africa’s largest and most diversified economy, closely tied to its neighbours’ fortunes.
1 Recce: Behind Enemy Lines takes the reader into the ‘inner sanctum’ of the Recces. In their own words, Recce operators recount some of the life-threatening operations they conducted under great secrecy in the late 1970s.
Those who were there give first-hand accounts of the tension, anticipation, fear, adrenalin, exhaustion, thirst and grief they experienced, but also of the humorous moments and the close bonds of friendship that were forged in situations of mortal danger.
City Of Broken Dreams brings the global debate about the urban university to bear on the realities of South African rust-belt cities through a detailed case study of the Eastern Cape motor city of East London, a site of significant industrial job losses over the past two decades. The cultural power of the car and its associations with the endless possibilities of modernity lie at the heart of the refusal of many rust-belt motor cities to seek alternative development paths that could move them away from racially inscribed, automotive capitalism and cultures. This is no less true in East London than it is in the motor cities of Flint and Detroit in the US.
Since the end of the Second World War, universities have become increasingly urbanised, resulting in widespread concerns about the autonomy of universities as places of critical thinking and learning. Simultaneously, there is increased debate about the role universities can play in building urban economies, creating jobs and reshaping the politics and identities of cities.
In City Of Broken Dreams, author Leslie Bank embeds the reader's understanding of the university within a history of industrialisation, placing-making and city building.
Jan Smuts, one of the most infamous South Africans of the twentieth century remains a controversial figure. Was he one of the outstanding statesmen of his time or was he perhaps a traitor of Afrikaner interests and possibly a racist? Today there are still strong opinions on Smuts’s role.
Like Paul Kruger at the end of the nineteenth century, and Nelson Mandela as the twentieth century drew to a close, it was Jan Smuts who stood head and shoulders above his contemporaries in the first half of the twentieth century; he was a leader of extraordinary stature and his statesmanship is recognised internationally. And yet, the NP and ANC governments have downplayed his contributions for decades, because it did not endorse their Afrikaner and black nationalist versions of South African history. A reappraisal of Smuts will fill a gap in the literature on the history of South Africa in the first half of the twentieth century. Many of the biographies and other works on Smuts appeared during his lifetime or soon after his death. Today, a few generations later, we have a better perspective on his contributions within the historical context of his time. New evidence continues to come to light, making it possible to reach a more informed opinion on questions about Smuts, issues which previously could not be answered conclusively.
The purpose of the book, written almost three generations after his death, is to recall and re-evaluate Smuts’s contributions in various fields and in this way introduce him to the younger generation. It is important that Smuts be judged in the context of his particular time and circumstances. As far as his outlook on war and peace, civilisation, race and class differences, the capitalist system and South Africa’s place in the wider world are concerned, Smuts was certainly a product of his time. It would be unfair to measure him and his contemporaries against today’s norms and values. To do justice to him, his supporters, as well as his opponents and critics, due consideration should be accorded to how they lived, thought and reasoned in that era.
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 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.
In 2016, the country watched as eight journalists stood up to the public broadcaster to dissent against the censorship imposed by COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng and the capture of the newsroom. They would become known as the SABC8. While many may remember the headlines, photos and footage that circulated during that time, few know the real story: the way lives were changed while history was being made.
Now, Foeta Krige, one of the SABC8, shares his version of events: how it came about that eight very different journalists from within the public broadcaster, each with their own unique background and motivation, were brought together by circumstance to fight the mighty SABC in the name of media freedom. This forms the backdrop for a lesser-known story – one of death threats, intimidation, assault and the eventual death of Suna Venter. Her death shocked the nation and baffled investigators. Was it a natural death caused by stress, or were there more sinister forces involved? To understand why her death was red-flagged, it is necessary to retrace her steps and how they converged with those of the seven other journalists.
Krige takes the reader back to the day when everything started, telling the gripping, and often harrowing, story behind the sensational headlines.
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.
In this riveting undercover spy drama, Bradley Steyn tells the story of his journey from a boy caught in the middle of the Strijdom Square massacre, to acting out his PTSD working for the apartheid security branch. Finally he ends up being recruited by MK and used to infiltrate the crazed right-wing whose mission is to destabilise a South Africa on the brink of peace.
With these forces pushing the nation towards a bloody race war, will his time run out before they discover he is working for Mandela's spies?
This astonishing true-life thriller reveals for the first time some of the dirty secrets of a dirty war.
What does it take to deceive those closest to you? How do you lead a double life and not lose yourself? Is there ever a point of return? Jonathan Ancer explores these questions in the tales of SA’s spies: from the navy superspy on the Russian payroll to the party girl who fell in love with Cuba and the idealistic students used and abused in apartheid’s intelligence war.
Ancer gets under the skin of what it takes to betray those closest to you – and what it is means to be betrayed.
Forgiveness Redefined is Candice Mama’s honest and healing story. It tells how she found ways to deal with the death of her father, Glenack Masilo Mama, and to forgive the notorious apartheid assassin Eugene de Kock, the man responsible for his brutal murder. We follow Candice’s journey of discovering how her father died, how this affected her and how she battled the demons of depression before the age of sixteen. But most importantly, we follow her journey towards beating the odds and rising above her heartbreaks.
Candice Mama is today still under the age of 30, but has been named as one of Vogue Paris’ most inspiring women alongside glittering names such as Michelle Obama. She has taken backstage selfies with music crooner Seal and travels all over the world to talk about her journey. This bubbly, inspiring young author tells how she shed some of the worst layers of grief and became an inspiration for others. We learn about her perplexing, unconventional childhood, her search for identity, and the beautiful bond she formed, posthumously, with a father she never had the opportunity to get to know in person. She also tells, in her own words, about the life-changing encounter between her family and her father’s killer.
Candice tenderly opens up about the result of the trauma of her father’s death on her entire family, and meeting her mother for the first time at the age of four. She tells about the confusing, yet fascinating, dynamics that later unfolded as she discovered pieces of herself, rediscovered relationships with her own family and came to forgiveness and understanding.
This book serves as inspiration for other young – and older – people to look at their own stories through different lenses. Candice’s experiences are not unique, and she offers healing thoughts to others who suffered similar trauma by sharing the details of her own story. Forgiveness Redefined is a touching, personal story by a young woman who learned too early about pain, loss and rejection – but who also learned how to overcome those burdens and live joyfully.
‘Dancing a tango with death’ was the daily life of the DCC – the Directorate of Covert Collection – secret agents, working in what JJ ‘Tolletjie’ Botha called ‘hostile countries’. Who were these men? Airline pilots, Belgian missionaries, German industrialists, engineers, medical doctors, high-ranking officers of enemy countries and last, but not least, people like a well-known Namibian lawyer and a famous, internationally acclaimed South African singer; people who, sometimes unwittingly, collaborated with the ‘shadow’s men’, believing they were helping friendly countries … Did the document prepared by General Pierre Steyn, the famous topsecret Steyn Report, really exist?
In this book you will find the full original document whose existence has been denied by FW de Klerk and his closest allies. Did Judge Richard Goldstone act bona fide by accepting in his final report the information given to him by Counter Intelligence and the NIS, information that, at the very end, emerged as “hearsay”? Was Judge Goldstone aware of the final objective of the tandem pair Steyn-De Klerk to decapitate the South African Defence Force?
Did the top structure of the DCC maintain close contacts with most of the Western intelligence services, and particularly the British MI6? Was any one of the hundreds of civilian and military men ‘listed’ as part of the infamous Third Force ever condemned? Was Staal Burger or Ferdi Barnard really part of the DCC or were they ‘imposed’ by the then Chief of the Army, General Kat Liebenberg? Did you know that more than half the African members of the first Mandela cabinet had been on the DCC’s payroll? Why did the Motsuenyane Commission of Enquiry have to suspend its search, and never published the list of ANC members massacred or disappeared, victims of their own comrades?
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.
In 1987–1988 the dusty Angolan town of Cuito Cuanavale was the backdrop for the final battles of the Border War. Ever since the war ended, the fighting around Cuito has been the subject of a fierce public debate over who actually won the war.
While the leadership of the former South African Defence Force (SADF) claims it was never defeated, the supporters of the Angolan MPLA government, Cuba and SWAPO insist that the SADF was vanquished on the battlefield. They contend that the SADF wanted to overrun Cuito Cuanavale and use it as a springboard for an advance on Luanda.
But was Cuito Cuanavale ever really an objective of the SADF? Leopold Scholtz tackles this question by examining recently declassified documents in the SANDF archives, exploring the strategic and tactical decisions that shaped the six main battles, from the SADF’s stunning tactical success on the Lomba River to the grinding struggle for the Tumpo Triangle.
His incisive analysis untangles what happens when war, politics and propaganda become entwined.
As lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex identities increasingly secure legal recognition across the globe, these formal equality gains are contradicted by the continued presence of violence. Such violence emerges as a political pressure point for contestations of identity and power within wider systems of global and local inequality. Discourses of homophobia-related violence constitute subjectivities that enact violence and that are rendered vulnerable to it, as well as shaping political possibilities to act against violence. Blackwashing Homophobia critiques prevailing discourses through which violence and its targets are normatively understood, exploring the knowledge regimes in which multiple forms of othering are both reproduced and/or resisted.
This book draws on primary research on lesbian subjectivity and violence in South Africa examining the intersections of sexual, gender, race and class identities, and the contemporary politics of violence in a postcolonial context:
The book explores these questions and their implications for how violence, as an instrument of power, might be countered. Blackwashing Homophobia is a timely intervention for theorising the discourse of homophobia-related violence and what it reveals and conceals, enables and hinders, in relation to queer identities and political imaginaries in times of violence. The book's interdisciplinary approach to the topic will appeal to social and political scientists, philosophers and psychology professionals, as well as to advanced psychology undergraduates and postgraduates alike.
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…
Twenty-five years have passed since South Africans were being shot, hacked or burned to death in political conflict. The memory of the trauma has faded where some 20 500 people were killed between 1984 and 1994. Conventional wisdom claims that they died at the hands of a state-backed Third Force. The more accurate explanation is that they died as a result of the people’s war the ANC unleashed.
After the people’s war began in September 1984, intimidation and political killings rapidly accelerated. At the same time, a remarkably effective propaganda campaign put the blame for violence on the National Party government and its alleged Inkatha surrogate. Sympathy for the ANC soared, while its rivals suffered crippling losses in credibility and support. By 1993 the ANC was able to dominate the negotiating process, as well as to control the militarily undefeated police and army and bend them to its will. By May 1994 it had trounced its rivals and taken over government. Many books have been written on South Africa's political transition, but none deals adequately with the people's war. This book does. It shows the extraordinary success of the people’s war in giving the ANC a virtual monopoly on power, as well as the great cost at which this was done. Apart from the terror and killings it sparked, the people’s war set in motion forces that cannot easily be tamed. Contemporary South Africa and the problems it confronts cannot be fully understood without a knowledge of the scars and damaging legacy of the people’s war.
For this new edition of her seminal work, Anthea Jeffery has revised and abridged her book. She has also included a brief overview of the ANC’s National Democratic Revolution, for which the people’s war was intended to prepare the way. Since 1994, the NDR has incrementally been implemented in many different spheres. It is also now being speeded up in its current and more ‘radical’ phase.
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.
The late eighties was a highly politicised environment. Willem Laubscher was healing some of the world’s best-known political prisoners, amongst them Walter Sisulu and Govan Mbeki. When Nelson Mandela was scheduled for a similar operation, all hell broke loose.
The National Party was quietly plotting to smuggle Mandela out of the country, possibly hoping that he would escape, while the ANC was scoring points by casting doubt on the medical services that white doctors like Laubscher was willing to provide to the political prisoners. A relatively simple medical operation turned into an international diplomatic crisis. Meanwhile, in most ironic of twists, the security police was taking desperate measures to ensure Mandela’s safety – the country could simply not afford an assassination attempt.
Willem Laubscher was the medical practitioner in the eye of this storm; Nelson Mandela was the calm strategist who had held out against pressure from both the jittery NP government and the increasingly boisterous ANC, with Winnie Mandela already larger than life, stoking the media and exploiting every available loophole to embarrass the government.
This is the story of a few weeks of diplomatic chaos, and a security operation that completely overshadowed the medical procedure Mandela was scheduled for. Read all about it now in this 64-page memoir of that provocative time, Operation Mandela.
The scene: An Indian television journalist is drafted in to lead the setting up of a new 24/7 television news channel in South Africa. The goal: To create a world class news product. This is the story of the three months Rajesh Sundaram, along with a small team of Indian television professionals, took to launch what was to be the biggest news channel in South Africa. However, this launch was not without its wide range of challenges, catastrophes and social media entertainment.
From capricious, micro-managing owners who had a political and commercial agenda to the shocking abuse of staff and violation of laws, finally resulting in a tempestuous and very public parting of ways, Indentured is the true story behind the launch of ANN7 - better known as Gupta TV.
This is behind the scenes, disclosing a range of delicious stories about the Gupta brothers, and their relationship with Number 9. And yes; you'll be told exactly why he is called Number 9.
In this riveting new book, John Laband, pre-eminent historian of the Zulu Kingdom, tackles some of the questions that swirl around the assassination in 1828 of King Shaka, the celebrated founder of the Zulu Kingdom and war leader of legendary brilliance: Why did prominent members of the royal house conspire to kill him? Just how significant a part did the white hunter-traders settled at Port Natal play in their royal patron's downfall? Why were Shaka's relations with the British Cape Colony key to his survival? And why did the powerful army he had created acquiesce so tamely in the usurpation of the throne by Dingane, his half-brother and assassin?
In his search for answers Laband turns to the Zulu voice heard through recorded oral testimony and praise-poems, and to the written accounts and reminiscences of the Port Natal trader-hunters and the despatches of Cape officials. In the course of probing and assessing this evidence the author vividly brings the early Zulu kingdom and its inhabitants to life. He throws light on this elusive character of and his own unpredictable intentions, while illuminating the fears and ambitions of those attempting to prosper and survive in his hazardous kingdom: a kingdom that nevertheless endured in all its essential characteristics, particularly militarily, until its destruction fifty one years later in 1879 by the British; and whose fate, legend has it, Shaka predicted with his dying breath.
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.
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