Legends - People Who Changed South Africa For The Better (Paperback)

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We have a lot to be positive about in South Africa. With all our problems, it’s easy to feel bleak. But hold those thoughts, because Legends might be just the tonic you need to drive off the gloom. This book tells the stories of a dozen remarkable people – some well known, others largely forgotten – who changed Mzansi for the better.

Most South Africans are proud of Nelson Mandela – and rightly so. His life was truly astounding, but he’s by no means the only person who should inspire us. There’s King Moshoeshoe, whose humanity and diplomatic strategies put him head and shoulders above his contemporaries, both European and African. And John Fairbairn, who brought non-racial democracy to the Cape in 1854. Olive Schreiner was a bestselling international author who fought racism, corruption and chauvinism. And Gandhi spent twenty years here inventing a system of protest that would bring an empire to its knees.

Legends also celebrates Eugène Marais’s startling contributions to literature and natural history (despite a lifelong morphine addiction); Sol Plaatje’s wit, intelligence and tenacity in the face of racial zealots; Cissie Gool’s lifetime fighting for justice and exposing bigots; and Sailor Malan’s battles against fascists in the skies of Europe and on the streets of South Africa. And then there’s Miriam Makeba, who began her life in prison and ended it as an international singing sensation; Steve Biko, who shifted the minds of an entire generation; and Thuli Madonsela (the book’s only living legend), who gracefully felled the most powerful man in the land.

Engagingly written and meticulously researched, Legends reminds South Africans that we have a helluva lot to be proud of.


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We have a lot to be positive about in South Africa. With all our problems, it’s easy to feel bleak. But hold those thoughts, because Legends might be just the tonic you need to drive off the gloom. This book tells the stories of a dozen remarkable people – some well known, others largely forgotten – who changed Mzansi for the better.

Most South Africans are proud of Nelson Mandela – and rightly so. His life was truly astounding, but he’s by no means the only person who should inspire us. There’s King Moshoeshoe, whose humanity and diplomatic strategies put him head and shoulders above his contemporaries, both European and African. And John Fairbairn, who brought non-racial democracy to the Cape in 1854. Olive Schreiner was a bestselling international author who fought racism, corruption and chauvinism. And Gandhi spent twenty years here inventing a system of protest that would bring an empire to its knees.

Legends also celebrates Eugène Marais’s startling contributions to literature and natural history (despite a lifelong morphine addiction); Sol Plaatje’s wit, intelligence and tenacity in the face of racial zealots; Cissie Gool’s lifetime fighting for justice and exposing bigots; and Sailor Malan’s battles against fascists in the skies of Europe and on the streets of South Africa. And then there’s Miriam Makeba, who began her life in prison and ended it as an international singing sensation; Steve Biko, who shifted the minds of an entire generation; and Thuli Madonsela (the book’s only living legend), who gracefully felled the most powerful man in the land.

Engagingly written and meticulously researched, Legends reminds South Africans that we have a helluva lot to be proud of.

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