Sunday Times Books LIVE Community Sign up

Login to Sunday Times Books LIVE

Forgotten password?

Forgotten your password?

Enter your username or email address and we'll send you reset instructions

Sunday Times Books LIVE

Jacana

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Archive for the ‘Angola’ Category

A Country Made of Oil and Goodwill – Ricardo Soares de Oliveira Launches Magnificent and Beggar Land

Ricardo Soares de Oliveira

The launch of Magnificent and Beggar Land: Angola since the Civil War by Ricardo Soares de Oliveira was a magnificent event. The author’s profoundly interesting discussion kept guests enthralled for the better part of an hour as he spoke about Angola, the extensive research he undertook to write the book, how he sees the country now and what he envisions for its future.

Antonio Tomas and Ricardo Soares de OliveiraMagnificent and Beggar LandAngolan anthropologist Antonio Tomas, who is currently at Stellenbosch University, joined De Oliveira in conversation. Tomas invited the author to give those present an idea of the whole project.

De Oliveira reflected on his first-hand experience of Angola in the late war years, and immediately after it had ended. He said, “Angola went through a war that lasted, in one shape or another, for about 41 years: the anti-colonial war, the cold war proximum that South Africa was intimately involved with and, finally, the last years of the 20th Century. This period destroyed much of the country and left a legacy. We don’t know how many people died, but up to a million Angolans are said to have died during this period. The country was entirely destroyed.”

He said the reconstruction mode didn’t start immediately after the war, partly because of the low oil price. “Oil had been the lifeline for the Angolan regime which had been the second largest oil producer in Africa, and this had enabled the regime to win the war.” Because of the enormous resources expended to win the war, he says, “the regime was cash strapped at the beginning of the peace period. For a few years the situation was unsettled”. However, he says, by 2007 the political project of reconstruction was afoot, and it was surprisingly full.

De Oliveira cited three conditions that allowed Angola to pursue an autonomous and somewhat eccentric path to national reconstruction:

“The first one is that this wasn’t a woolly peace process, unlike many others in post-Cold War Africa that ended with power sharing and UN-brokered peace accords. Angola was an old-fashioned destruction of the rebels by the government which allowed it to define the terms of the peace in its own uncompromising terms. It allowed it to think about peace as a rebuilding of the country in its own image. This was an important prerequisite for the project that ensued,” he said.

The second aspect relates to the country’s oil production. De Oliveira says, “In 2002 Angola was already a major oil producer, producing just less than a million barrels a day. By 2008, Angola was producing about two million barrels a day. In 2002, the oil price was at $22/barrel. By 2008, it was $147/barrel. The Angolan GDP went from $12 billion in 2002 to somewhere near $130 billion last year. The growth and development that this allows for is obvious. During the decade that the book explores, the Angolan economy has become the third largest in sub-Saharan Africa, three times larger than the Kenyan economy and larger than the whole of east Africa together.

“We’re thinking of a very different scale to the usual post-war reconstruction trajectory in Africa or elsewhere. Yet another number that gives you an inkling of what was made available by these numbers. From 2006 until 2014, every year the Angolan budget was larger than the OECD Aid to Africa as a whole. With the amounts that were conjured out of the ground during this period, if you add the war victory to the autonomy, you can start to see why Angola, especially after 2005, was able to define the peace in its own way.

The third factor contributing to Angola’s national reconstruction was the coming of China. “Until 2004 Angola was trying to negotiate with the traditional western governments for some sort of aid. Western donors were not forthcoming. They argued that corruption was rife in Angola and that the oil institutions had to be reformed before any meaningful donor money could be brought into the country. By 2004 China entered the picture, providing Angola with an estimated $20 billion in credit loans, building another wall of autonomy enabling the regime to further its national project of reconstruction.

The book tries to understand the project of national reconstruction. It tries to understand the victor’s vision, what they tried to bring about, and what has actually happened in the last decade.

Tomas and De Oliveira engaged in the topic further, leading to a fascinating and in-depth question and answer session. Those who attended were well rewarded with an insightful presentation on this incompletely understood country. The author signed copies of his book bought by interested members of the audience, and accepted their well wishes and congratulations.


 

Facebook Album

 

Book details


» read article

Join Ricardo Soares de Oliveira for a Public Lecture on Angola Since the Civil War at WiSER

Magnificent and Beggar Land: Angola Since the Civil WarWiSER invites you to a public lecture by Ricardo Soares de Oliveira, Associate Professor in Comparative Politics (African Politics) at the University of Oxford and author of Magnificent and Beggar Land: Angola Since the Civil War.

The conversation is centred around the topic “Angola Since the Civil War: Oil, Reconstruction and Illiberal Statebuilding” and will take place on Thursday, 13 August, at 6 PM.

Based on three years of research and extensive first-hand knowledge of Angola, Magnificent and Beggar Land is a study of the fast-changing dynamics of one of the key exporters of oil and diamonds on the continent.

Don’t miss it!

Event Details

Book Details


» read article

Join Ricardo Soares de Oliveira for the Launch of Magnificent and Beggar Land at The Book Lounge

Magnificent and Beggar Land: Angola since the Civil WarJacana and The Book Lounge would like to invite you to the launch of Magnificent and Beggar Land: Angola since the Civil War by Ricardo Soares de Oliveira.

The author will be speaking about the extensive first-hand research he undertook for this book, sharing his knowledge about contemporary Angola.

The launch will be on Tuesday, 11 August, at 5:30 for 6 PM at The Book Lounge.

Don’t miss it!

Event Details

  • Date: Tuesday, 11 August 2015
  • Time: 5:30 for 6 PM
  • Venue: The Book Lounge
    71 Roeland Street
    Corner of Buitenkant and Roeland Streets
    Cape Town | Map
  • RSVP: The Book Lounge, booklounge@gmail.com, 021 462 2425

Book Details


» read article

Join Ricardo Soares de Oliveira for the Launch of Magnificent and Beggar Land in Johannesburg

Invite to the Launch of Magnificent and Beggar Land

 
Magnificent and Beggar Land: Angola since the Civil WarJacana Media, Good Governance Africa and UJ would like to invite you to the launch of Magnificent and Beggar Land: Angola since the Civil War by Ricardo Soares de Oliveira.

At the launch, the author will be speaking to Justin Pearce, Elias Isaac and Rafael Marques de Morais.

The launch will be at UJ’s Library Auditorium on Wednesday, 12 August, at 5:30 for 6 PM.

See you there!

Event Details

  • Date: Wednesday, 12 August 2015
  • Time: 5:30 PM for 6 PM
  • Venue: Library Auditorium (6th Floor)
    Kingsway Campus
    University of Johannesburg
    Corner of Kingsway Avenue and University Road
    Auckland Park | Map
  • Panel: Justin Pearce, Elias Isaac and Rafael Marques de Morais
  • Refreshments: Refreshments will be served on arrival
  • RSVP: Mabel Nhlabathi, mabel.nhlabathi@gga.org

Book Details


» read article

A New and Acclaimed Study of Angola: Magnificent and Beggar Land by Ricardo Soares de Oliveira

Magnificent and Beggar LandJacana Media is proud to present Magnificent and Beggar Land: Angola since the Civil War by Ricardo Soares de Oliveira:

Magnificent and Beggar Land is a powerful account of fast-changing dynamics in Angola, an important African state that is a key exporter of oil and diamonds and a growing power on the continent. Based on three years of research and extensive first-hand knowledge of Angola, it documents the rise of a major economy and its insertion in the international system since it emerged in 2002 from one of Africa’s longest and deadliest civil wars.

Published by C. Hurst & Co. to critical acclaim.

This is the best study of Angola in English, and one of the best books in any language on what remains a poorly understood country. It also serves to illustrate some of the deeper complexities underlying the “Africa Rising” narrative that has become so prominent in international business circles. – Stephen Ellis, Desmond Tutu Professor, Free University, Amsterdam and author of External Mission: The ANC in Exile, 1960-1990

This little-studied kleptocracy is an accepted part of the western system. Expat western workers keep Angola ticking. Angolan oligarchs inhabit the global luxury economy of British public schools, Swiss asset managers, Hermès stores, etc. In fact, argues the Oxford political scientist Ricardo Soares de Oliveira in his marvellous new book, Magnificent and Beggar Land: Angola since the Civil War, we live in “an oligarch’s ideal world”. Western countries barely even pretend to disapprove of kleptocrats anymore.Financial Times

Soares de Oliveira offers a fascinating account of the Machiavellian adaptability of the MPLA leadership … [He] has a particular skill in understanding how what begins as one thing can transmute into another – including how [President] dos Santos the malleable puppet became dos Santos the almighty. He offers a detailed account of the aging president’s accumulation of nearly unchallengeable power.
Los Angeles Review of Books

This is a stunning book, which takes the lid off Angola in a way that I have never seen equalled for any African state – and does it, moreover, for a state which is both extremely important and very little known. It is superbly written, and draws on a detailed familiarity that gives a feel for the place that no amount of simple fact gathering could ever convey. It will be absolutely essential for understanding Angola.
– Christopher Clapham, Professor, Centre of African Studies, University of Cambridge

Angola is widely regarded as one of the world’s most egregious kleptocracies. The bulk of the country’s wealth is controlled by a few hundred oligarchs – Presidential cronies, generals, and their families. “The default position of Angolan businessmen is above the law,” Ricardo Soares de Oliveira, an associate professor of politics at Oxford University, writes in Magnificent and Beggar Land, his comprehensive new account of Angola’s recent history. “Whether it is a matter of capital flight, money laundering, the unilateral abandonment of partnerships with foreigners, the non-payment of loans and import duties, conflict of interest between public and private roles … These are not occasional whims, but the very stuff of Angolan private sector life.”
– Michael Specter, The New Yorker

About the author

Ricardo Soares de Oliveira is Associate Professor in Comparative Politics, University of Oxford, fellow of St Peter´s College, Oxford, and fellow of the Global Public Policy Institute, Berlin. He is the author of Oil and Politics in the Gulf of Guinea and co-editor of China Returns to Africa.

Book details


» read article

Gennady Shubin Returns with Bush War Sequel: Cuito Cuanavale: Frontline Accounts by Soviet Soldiers

Cuito CuanavaleJacana Media presents Cuito Cuanavale: Frontline Accounts by Soviet Soldiers, edited by Gennady Shubin:

This book is a follow-up to the successful Bush War, which provided, for the first time, personal, first-hand accounts of the military conflict and civil war in Angola, as told by Soviet advisers to the Angolan army.

This volume concentrates on the climax of this conflict, the months-long battle of Cuito Cuanavale in 1987-8, the largest military engagement on African soil since the Second World War. Here South African forces came to blows with Angolan FAPLA troops and their Cuban allies in a battle whose outcome is still hotly debated.

The Soviet soldiers’ experience of the war and their views and assessment of their South African enemies as well as their Cuban and Angolan allies will surprise and fascinate South African readers. At the same time they offer new insights into the conflict.

About the editor

Dr Gennady Shubin
is a senior researcher for the Institute for African Studies in the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow. He has published 17 books (nine of them are co-authored) including three books on modern South Africa’s history, six books on the Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902, two books on South Africa’s army and military industry, and six books of memoirs about the Angolan war (one of them in English and one in Russo-English).

Book details


» read article

Two Launches for The Herd Boy by Niki Daly in Cape Town and Hermanus

The Herd BoyJoin award-winning and much-loved South African author, Niki Daly, as he shares his story about a boy who dares to dream of a big future. The Herd Boy is a story of empowerment and self-belief, and is inspired by the life of former president Nelson Mandela. Daly will be signing books, and there will be a fun flag designing activity for the children.

The first event will be held in Hermanus at The Book Cottage on Saturday 8 December at 11:00 AM and the second will be at The Book Lounge in Cape Town on Saturday 15 December at 11:00 AM

Don’t miss them!

Hermanus

Cape Town

Book Details


» read article

Gennady Shubin and Andrei Tokarev Present Bush War: The Road to Cuito Cuanavale

Bush War: The Road to Cuito CuanavaleFor almost fifteen years South Africa was involved in a civil war in Angola, the so-called Bush War, on behalf of the UNITA faction. The climax of this portrayed conflict was the battle of Cuito Cuanavale, the largest military engagement on African soil since the Second World War. Here South African forces came to blows with Angolan FAPLA troops and their Cuban allies in a battle whose outcome is still hotly debated.

Thousands of South African conscripts took part in the Bush War and their stories are beginning to be told. What us much less known is the view from the other side. Bush War: The Road to Cuito Cuanavale book provides, for the first time in English, first-hand, personal accounts of the conflict, leading up to Cuito Cuanavale, as told by Soviet advisers to the Angolan army. Their experience of the war and their views and assessment of their South African enemies as well as their Cuban and Angolan allies will surprise and fascinate South African readers and at the same time offer new insights into the conflict.

About the editor

Dr Gennady Shubin is a Senior Researcher for the Institute for African Studies in the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow. He has published 17 books (nine of them are co-authored) including three books on the modern RSA’s history, six books on the Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902, two books on RSA’s Army and Military Industry and six books of memoirs about Angolan war (one of them in English and one is Russo-English).

Dr Andrei Tokarev is head of the Centre for South African Studies at the Africa Institute in Moscow and an Associate Professor at the Military University in Moscow.

Book details


» read article

Inside Quatro: What the ANC and SWAPO Would Rather Forget

Inside QuatroInside Quatro uncovers some of the exile history of the ANC and SWAPO that both organisations would prefer not to remember.

Here is a first-hand account of the ANC’s Quatro prison camp and of the mutiny in Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) in Angola in 1984; articles on the SWAPO ‘spy drama’ of the 1970s and 1980s; an analysis of a death in exile with implications relating to Jacob Zuma; and a study of the responses of both the ANC and SWAPO to these episodes of intolerance, repression and excess. In all his essays, Trewhela analyses problems of the liberation struggles with a former insider’s knowledge and a journalist’s ability to ferret out the facts.

“Trewhela has spent much of his life on a voyage of intellectual discovery from his roots in South Africa’s liberation struggle. Most unusually, he remains faithful to his earliest ideals but this has made him the dissident voice of conscience. No one else writes about South Africa with his knowledge, width of experience or his passionate devotion both to the truth and to humane values. It is this which has made him as unpopular with the ANC as he was with their apartheid predecessors.”
–- RW Johnson

About the Author

Born in Johannesburg in 1941, Paul Trewhela worked in underground journalism with Ruth First and edited the underground journal of MK, Freedom Fighter, during the Rivonia Trial. He was a political prisoner in Pretoria and the Johannesburg Fort as a member of the Communist Party in 1964–7, separating from the SACP while in prison. In exile in Britain he was co-editor with the late Baruch Hirson of Searchlight South Africa, banned in South Africa. Since 2006 he has published numerous articles on South African political subjects on the websites Ever-fasternews.com and Politicsweb.co.za.

Book details


» read article