New Edition of Ronnie Kasrils’ Memoir Armed and Dangerous Dedicated to the Born Frees
First published in 1993, Armed and Dangerous was one of the earliest struggle memoirs to deal from a personal perspective with the formation and development of Umkhonto weSizwe, and the remarkable role it played in helping to bring about the downfall of apartheid.
Now in its fourth edition, Armed and Dangerous is the first-hand account of Kasrils’s years in both the liberation struggle and in government.
Kasrils gives an insider’s account of the workings of Umkhonto weSizwe, the armed wing of the ANC, during the underground years, is a modern-day story of intrigue and cunning in the fight against apartheid.
Nicknamed “The Red Pimpernel” by the South African press and public for slipping in and out of South Africa in a plethora of disguises to run secret missions, Kasrils narrowly escaped arrest and detention in several close shaves with security forces. Following the arrests of Mandela and other ANC leaders, he fled into hiding overseas, became one of the key commanders of Umkhonto weSizwe and was responsible for setting up training camps in Tanzania, Cuba and elsewhere. Armed and Dangerous provides an insider’s account of the workings of Umkhonto weSizwe, the armed wing of the ANC, during the underground years, is a modern-day story of intrigue and cunning in the fight against apartheid.
Dedicated to the Born Frees, the generation born after the attainment of a democratic South Africa in 1994, to help them understand the struggle and carry on where we left off to make South Africa a better place for all who live in it. This is a story that will resonate for years to come.
About the author
Ronnie Kasrils started off as a script writer for a Johannesburg film studio and then for Lever Brothers, as Television and Film Director for their advertising division in Durban, until 1962. In 1960 he was prompted by the Sharpville Massacre to join the ANC, where he served as the secretary of the ANC-aligned Congress of Democrats in Natal until it was banned in 1962. He became a member of Umkhonto we Sizwe (Armed Wing of the Liberation Movement) at its inception in 1961 and participated in many sabotage operations. Pursued by the police he and his wife, Eleanor, fled into exile in 1963 after her daring escape from detention. Exiled for 27 years; he was based in London, Luanda, Maputo, Swaziland, Botswana and Lusaka. He worked underground for the ANC in South Africa during Operation Vula.
After the first democratic elections in South Africa, Kasrils was appointed Deputy Minister of Defence from 1994–1999. He then became Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry from 1999–2004 and was appointed Minister of Intelligence Services until he submitted his resignation on 23 September 2008 following former President Thabo Mbeki’s resignation in the same month.