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A younger generation of South Africans are developing important and innovative ways of understanding South Africa’s past, challenging narratives that have, over the last decades, been informed by notions of forgiveness and reconciliation. Carli Coetzee uses the image of history-rich blood to explore these approaches to intergenerational memory. In this book, she revisits older archives and analyses contemporary South African cultural and literary forms.
The emphasis on blood challenges the privileged status skin has had as an explanatory category in thinking about identity. Instead, Coetzee emphasises intergenerational transfer and continuity. She argues that a younger generation is contesting the terms through which to understand contemporary South Africa and interpreting the legacies of the past that remain under the visible layer of skin.
The chapters each concern blood: Mandela’s prison cell as laboratory for producing bloodless freedom, the kinship relations created and resisted in accounts of Eugene de Kock in prison, Ruth First’s concern with information leaks in her accounts of her time in prison, the first human-to-human heart transplant and its relation to racialised attempts to salvage white identity, the #Fallist moment, the Abantu Book Festival, and activist scholarship and creative art works that use blood as a trope for thinking about change and continuity.
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.
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.
Between 1913 and 1989 some four million South Africans were forcibly removed from their homes to enforce residential segregation along racial lines. This study records and interprets the memories of some of the Capetonians who were relocated as a result of the infamous Group Areas Act.
Former resients of Windermere, Tramway Road in Sea Point, District Six, Lower Claremont, and Simon's Town narrate their experiences. The work shows how different - even conflicting - versions of popular memories are historically significant for individuals and communities, and for the professionals and academics who work with them.
Most important, it demonstrates how the sharing of oral histories and memories allows people to rebuild a sense of self and community.
When opportunity strikes, television producer Deon Maas joins the boatloads of migrants heading for Germany. Faced with the choice of taking all his possessions along or selling everything, he opts for the latter. With a duffel bag and his four dogs, he departs for the First World.
Decadent Berlin blows his mind but also leaves him at a loss for words. As he criss-crosses the city, scratching at its pulsating underbelly, he marvels at German idiosyncrasies, and is roped into this new world by an array of vegan anarchists, eclectic musicians, football hooligans and graffiti artists.
As he tries to settle in, he has to deal with everything from obnoxious bureaucrats to nosy neighbours. In the process, Maas debunks a few myths about the First World: it’s not a perfect place where everything works, and German efficiency is definitely overrated.
By confronting the loss of his support network and adapting to a different political and social context, he learns exactly how deep his African roots go and what it takes to find your place in Europe as a white African.
South Africa’s pre-eminent historian explains the spectacular rise – and probable demise – of the numerical minority that dominated 20th-century South Africa.
The Afrikaners are unique in the world in that they successfully mobilised ethnic entrepreneurship without state assistance, controlled the entire country, and then yielded power without military defeat. Award-winning author Hermann Giliomee takes a hard analytical look at this group’s dramatic ascent and possible disappearance as a nation in a series of well-argued thematic chapters. Topics range from ethnic entrepreneurship, the ‘coloured vote’ and ‘Bantu’ education to Nelson Mandela’s relationship with the last Afrikaner leaders.
It ends with a final chapter on the most likely future for this sometimes admired, often reviled group, which undoubtedly left the largest imprint on South African history in the 20th century.
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…
In The Eight Zulu Kings, well-respected and widely published historian John Laband examines the reigns of the eight Zulu kings from 1816 to the present.
Starting with King Shaka, the renowned founder of the Zulu kingdom, he charts the lives of the kings Dingane, Mpande, Cetshwayo, Dinuzulu, Solomon and Cyprian, to today’s King Goodwill Zwelithini whose role is little more than ceremonial.
In the course of this investigation Laband places the Zulu monarchy in the context of African kingship and tracks and analyses the trajectory of the Zulu kings from independent and powerful pre-colonial African rulers to largely powerless traditionalist figures in post-apartheid South Africa.
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.
From prehistory to the first settlers, from colonialism to apartheid, and from the turbulent transition to the first two decades of democracy, This Incredible Land takes you swiftly through the most important events of South Africa’s tempestuous and terrific past.
Clear and chronologically structures, this book is the perfect primer on the most important political, social and economic events in South African history.
A must-read for scholars and students, and an enriching experience for tourists and citizens, this is a book for any and every history-lover’s shelf.
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?
With tears in my eyes I took a last glimpse at No. 22 Cross Street as we turned into Stuckeris Street. ‘Sala kahle, District Six,’ I whispered.
Nomvuyo Ngcelwane grew up in the heart of District Six. In beautiful detail, she tells of life in a bustling community, of their interesting social lives and the vibrant atmosphere one has come to associate with District Six.
Twenty years since original publication, Ngcelwane’s story is still relevant today and paints a captivating history of black people living in District Six before forced removals took place. She writes with great honesty, warmth, humor and heart. More than fifty years since forced goodbyes, Ngcelwane’s memoir reiterates the need for social justice and casts a light on the memories forgotten by some.
“Sala Kahle, District Six is free of posturing. It has great documentary value. The fact that it is the memoir of a Black woman adds to its already considerable interest.” Vincent Kolbe
Well-known television anchor and media personality Ruda Landman talks to a wide variety of South Africans about their life choices and how change has affected them.
A colourful mosaic of diverse experiences emerges as people share life stories and lessons. The book includes insights by the likes of John Kani, Ferial Haffajee, Pieter-Dirk Uys, Katlego Maboe, Gugu Zulu, Zapiro, ProVerb, Arno Carstens, Mam' Khanyi (who takes in street children and orphans), Nick Binnedell and Marc Lottering.
Revealing, sad, funny and filled with hope as well-known and ordinary people equally show how each one of us always has options and can make a difference by how we respond to what we encounter.
For the last twenty years, Melinda Gates has been on a mission. Her goal, as co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has been to find solutions for people with the most urgent needs, wherever they live. Throughout this journey, one thing has become increasingly clear to her: if you want to lift a society up, invest in women.
Candid and inspiring, in The Moment Of Lift, Gates traces her awakening to the link between women’s empowerment and the health of societies. She shows some of the tremendous opportunities that exist right now to 'turbo-charge' change. And she provides simple and effective ways each one of us can make a difference. Convinced that all women should be free to decide whether and when to have children, Gates took her first step onto the global stage to make a stand for family planning. That step launched her into further efforts: to ensure women everywhere have access to every kind of job; to encourage men around the globe to share equally in the burdens of household work; to advocate for paid family leave for everyone; to eliminate gender bias in all its forms.
Throughout, Gates introduces us to her heroes in the movement towards equality, offers startling data, shares moving conversations she’s had with women from all over the world – and shows how we can all get involved.
A personal statement of passionate conviction, this book tells of Gates’ journey from a partner working behind the scenes to one of the world’s foremost advocates for women, driven by the belief that no one should be excluded, all lives have equal value, and gender equality is the lever that lifts everything.
‘Miskien issit omdat poverty my define en nie die racial politics vannie land ie.’
Wit issie ’n colour nie is ’n versameling verhale oor grootword en die lewe in die buitewyke van die Kaapse Vlakte. Dit dek identiteit, rassepolitiek, sosio- ekonomiese kwessies en bruin kultuur, en bevraagteken die Suid-Afrika waarin ons ons bevind. Dit is gevul met galgehumor, rou eerlikheid en hartverskeurende vertellings van pogings om die lewe op die Vlakte te navigeer. Hierdie versameling is diep persoonlik en ’n ontstellend waar weergawe van die lewe aan die ander kant van die spoor, geskryf in Kaapse Afrikaans.
Two Weeks In November is the thrilling, surreal, unbelievable and often very funny true story of four would-be enemies – a high- ranking politician, an exiled human rights lawyer, a dangerous spy and a low-key white businessman turned political fixer – who team up to help unseat one of the world's longest serving dictators, Robert Mugabe.
What begins as an improbable adventure destined for failure, marked by a mixture of bravery, strategic cunning and bumbling naiveté, soon turns into the most sophisticated political-military operation in African history. By virtue of their being together, the unlikely team of misfit rivals is suddenly in position to spin what might have been seen as an illegal coup into a mass popular uprising that the world – and millions of Zimbabweans – will enthusiastically support.
Impeccably researched, deftly written, and told in the style of a political thriller, Two Weeks In November is Ocean’s 11 meets Game of Thrones: a real-world life or death chess match for the future of a country where the political endgame is never a forgone conclusion.
Alfred Qabula was a central figure in the cultural movement that emerged among working people in and around Durban in the 1980s. The movement was an innovative attempt to draw on the oral poetry developed among the Nguni people over many centuries. Qabula was a forklift driver in the Dunlop tyre factory in Durban at the time this book was developed. He used the art of telling stories to critique the exploitation of black workers and their oppression under apartheid.
A Working Life, Cruel Beyond Belief is the first book in the Hidden Voices series and is Qabula’s testament, telling the powerful story of his life and work. It also contains a generous selection of his poetry. The Hidden Voices Project emerged out of an interest in intellectual left contributions towards discussions on race, class, ethnicity and nationalism in South Africa. Specifically, the project seeks to examine and make available writings on left thought under apartheid. The aim is to look at hidden voices – voices outside of the university system or academic voices suppressed by apartheid pressures. Before and during the apartheid years, many universities were closed to existing local ideas and debates, and critical intellectual debates, ideas, texts, poetry and songs often originated outside academia during the period of the struggle for liberation.
First published to international acclaim in 1996, The Seed Is Mine is a bold and innovative social history concerning the disenfranchised blacks who did so much to shape the destiny of South Africa.
After years of interviews with Kas Maine and his neighbours, employers, friends, and family – a rare triumph of collaborative courage and dedication – Charles van Onselen has recreated the entire life of a man who struggled to maintain his family in a world dedicated to enriching whites and impoverishing blacks, while South Africa was tearing them apart.
The first Tour de France in 1903 was a colourful affair full of adventure, mishaps and audacious attempts at cheating. Its riders included characters like Maurice Garin, an Italian-born Frenchman, said to have been swapped for a round of cheese by his parents in order to smuggle him into France to clean chimneys as a teenager, Hippolyte Aucouturier with his trademark handlebar moustache, and amateurs like Jean Dargassies, a blacksmith who had never raced before. Would this ramshackle pack of cyclists draw crowds to throng France's rutted roads and cheer the first Tour heroes? Surprisingly it did, and, all thanks to a marketing ruse dreamed up to revive struggling newspaper L'Auto, cycling would never be the same again. Peter Cossins takes us through the inaugural Tour de France, painting a nuanced portrait of France in the early 1900s, to see where the greatest sporting event of all began.
Two Harvard professors explain the stages in which governments collapse - and how we can prevent this.
Democracies can die with a coup d'état - or they can die slowly. This happens most deceptively when in piecemeal fashion, with the election of an authoritarian leader, the abuse of governmental power and the complete repression of opposition. All three steps are being taken around the world - not least with the election of Donald Trump - and we must all understand how we can stop them.
From the reign of General Augusto Pinochet in Chile to the quiet undermining of Turkey's constitutional system by President Recip Erdogan, Harvard professors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt draw insightful lessons from across history to shine a light on governmental breakdown across the 20th and 21st centuries - including the dangers of an authoritarian leader faced with a major crisis.
Based on years of research, they present a deep understanding of how and why democracies die; an alarming analysis of how democracy is being subverted today in the US and beyond; and a guide for maintaining and repairing a threatened democracy, for governments, political parties and individuals.
History doesn't repeat itself. But we can protect our democracy by learning its lessons, before it's too late.
MISTRA's publication on Whiteness Afrikaans Afrikaners: Addressing Post-Apartheid Legacies, Privileges and Burdens consists of various thought-provoking contributions made at a roundtable held in 2015 at Constitution Hill as a continuation of MISTRA’s research on nation formation and social cohesion. The publication aims to enhance the understanding of the history of whiteness in all its socio-economic manifestations as well as the architecture of power relations and privileges in democratic South Africa.
The volume comprises of contributions by former president Kgalema Motlanthe, current Deputy Minister of Cogta, Andries Nel, Mary Burton, Christi van der Westhuizen, Lynette Steenveld, Bobby Godsell, Dirk Herman (of Solidarity), Ernst Roets (of Afriforum), Xhanti Payi, Mathatha Tsedu, Pieter Duvenage, Hein Willemse, Nico Koopman, Melissa Steyn, Achille Mbembe and Mathews Phosa.
Situated between the Hottentots Holland Mountains and the Breede River, the Overberg is an important agricultural region and a popular holiday destination for tourists and nature lovers who delight in the beauty of its mountainous landscape, abundant plant species and long sandy beaches.
But this area also has a rich history going back thousands of years, when the indigenous Khoi people originally thrived there, before the first European settlers arrived to leave their own indelible imprint on the culture, architecture and character of the region. This book provides a detailed account of this past by pointing out the many places, buildings, events and personalities that have made the Overberg the diverse and unique place that it is today.
The Overberg has been a home or point of interest for explorers, innovators, artists and writers, for figures as varied as Bartholomew Diaz, Olof Bergh, Hendrik Verwoerd, Gregoire Boonzaier, Audrey Blignault and Breyten Breytenbach. Some of South Africa’s oldest towns, houses and missionary stations can be found here, and its treacherous coastline has been the cause of hundreds of shipwrecks for centuries.
Enlivened by historical and current photographs and informative side panels, this book is a collector’s item.
This stirring collection of essays and talks by activist and former judge Albie Sachs is the culmination of more than 25 years of thought about constitution-making and non-racialism. Following the Constitutional Court's landmark Nkandla ruling in March 2016, it serves as a powerful reminder of the tenets of the Constitution, the rule of law and the continuous struggle to uphold democratic rights and freedoms. We, The People offers an intimate insider's view of South Africa's Constitution by a writer who has been deeply entrenched in its historical journey from the depths of apartheid right up to the politically contested present.
As a second-year law student at the University of Cape Town, Sachs took part in the Defiance Campaign and went on to attend the Congress of the People in Kliptown, where the Freedom Charter was adopted in 1955. Three decades later, shortly after the bomb attack in Maputo that cost him his arm and the sight in one eye, he was called on by the Constitutional Committee of the African National Congress to co-draft (with Kader Asmal) the first outline of a Bill of Rights for a new democratic South Africa. In 1994, he was appointed by Nelson Mandela to the Constitutional Court, where he served as a judge until 2009. We, The People contains some of Sachs' most memorable public talks and writings, in which he takes us back to the broad-based popular foundations of the Constitution in the Freedom Charter. He picks up on Oliver Tambo's original vision of a non-racial future for South Africa, rather than one based on institutionalised power-sharing between the races. He explores the tension between perfectability and corruptibility, hope and mistrust, which lies at the centre of all constitutions.
Sachs discusses the enforcement of social and economic rights, and contemplates the building of the Constitutional Court in the heart of the Old Fort Prison as a mechanism for reconciling the past and the future. Subjective experience and objective analysis interact powerfully in a personalised narrative that reasserts the value of constitutionality not just for South Africans, but for people striving to advance human dignity, equality and freedom across the world today.
In 1934, eleven-year-old Shimon Peres emigrated to the land of Israel from his native Poland, leaving behind an extended family who would later be murdered in the Holocaust. Few back then would have predicted that this young man would eventually become one of the towering figures of the twentieth century. Peres would indeed go on to serve the new state as prime minister, president, foreign minister, and the head of several other ministries.
He was central to the establishment of the Israeli Defense Forces and the defense industry that would provide the young state with a robust deterrent power. He was crucial to launching Israel’s nuclear energy program and to the creation of its high-tech “Start-up Nation” revolution. His refusal to surrender to conventional wisdom and political norms helped save the Israeli economy and prompted some of the most daring military operations in history, among them the legendary Operation Entebbe. And yet, as important as his role in creating and deploying Israel’s armed forces was, his stunning transition from hawk to dove—with its accompanying unwavering commitment to peace—made him one of the globe’s most recognized, honored, and admired statesmen.
In this, his final work, finished only weeks before his passing, Peres offers a long-awaited examination of the crucial turning points in Israeli history through the prism of having been a decision maker and eyewitness. Told with the frankness of someone aware this would likely be his final statement, No Room for Small Dreams spans decades and events, but as much as it is about what happened, it is about why it happened. Examining pivotal moments in Israel’s rise, Peres explores what makes for a great leader, how to make hard choices in a climate of uncertainty and distress, the challenges of balancing principles with policies, and the liberating nature of imagination and unpredicted innovation.
In doing so, he not only charts a better path forward for his beloved country but provides deep and universal wisdom for younger generations who seek to lead—be it in politics, business, or the broader service of making our planet a safer, more peaceful, and just place.
Jonathan Jansen is die voormalige Rektor van die Universiteit van die Vrystaat, met 'n formidabele reputasie vir transformasie en 'n diepgewortelde verbintenis tot versoening in gemeenskappe wat met die erfenis van apartheid saamleef. In hierdie boek, Jansen se persoonlikste en mees intieme boek tot op hede, daag Suid-Afrika se geliefde professor die stereotipes en stigma uit wat so maklik op Kaapse Vlakte-ma's van toepassing gemaak word as luidrugtig, wellustig en sonder tande – en bied hy dié deernisvolle verhaal aan as 'n lofsang vir ma's oral wat op moeilike plekke gesinne moet grootmaak en gemeenskappe moet bou.
As jong man het Jansen gewonder hoe ma's dit regkry om kinders onder moeilike omstandighede groot te maak – en toe besef die antwoord is reg voor hom in die vorm van Sarah Jansen, sy eie ma. Deur haar vroeë lewe in Montagu en die gevolge van apartheid se gedwonge verskuiwings na te speur, werp Jansen lig op hoe sterk vroue nie slegs daarin geslaag het om gesinne bymekaar te hou nie, maar hulle kinders ook met integriteit groot te maak.
Met sy kenmerkende fynsinnigheid, humor en eerlikheid, volg Jansen sy ma se lewensverhaal as 'n jong verpleegster en ma van vyf kinders, en wys hy hoe dié ma's hulle verlede verwerk het, hulle huise ingerig het, sin gemaak het van die politiek, die liefde bestuur en kernwaardes gekommunikeer het – hoe hulle hulle lewens gelei het. Om sy eie herinneringe te balanseer, het Jansen hom op sy suster, Naomi, beroep om haar eie insigte en herinneringe te deel, en daardeur spesiale waarde tot hierdie roerende memoir toe te voeg.
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