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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Book launch – Spy: Uncovering Craig Williamson by Jonathan Ancer

Join author Jonathan Ancer in conversation with author, journalist and tweet writer, Gus Silber discussing Craig Williamson, the apartheid ‘super-spy’ turned killer.

Event Details

  • Date: Wednesday, 26 April 2017
  • Time: 5:30 PM for 6:00 PM
  • Venue: Love Books, The Bamboo Lifestyle Centre, 53 Rustenburg Road, Melville, Johannesburg. | Map
  • RSVP: Savannah Lucas, Jacana Media,, 011 628 3200

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Win a copy of Lindiwe Hani’s Being Chris Hani’s Daughter

Twenty-four years have passed since the assassination of the leader of the South African Communist Party, Chris Hani.

In honour of his memory, we’re giving away three copies of Lindiwe Hani’s Being Chris Hani’s Daughter, co-written by Melinda Ferguson.

When Chris Hani, leader of the South African Communist Party and heir apparent to Nelson Mandela, was brutally slain in his driveway in April 1993, he left a shocked and grieving South Africa on the precipice of civil war.

But to 12-year-old Lindiwe, it was the love of her life, her daddy, who had been shockingly ripped from her life.

In this intimate and brutally honest memoir, 36-year-old Lindiwe remembers the years she shared with her loving father, and the toll that his untimely death took on the Hani family.
She lays family skeletons bare and brings to the fore her own downward spiral into cocaine and alcohol addiction, a desperate attempt to avoid the pain of his brutal parting.

While the nation continued to revere and honour her father’s legacy, for Lindiwe, being Chris Hani’s daughter became an increasingly heavy burden to bear.

“For as long as I can remember, I’d grown up feeling that I was the daughter of Chris Hani and that I was useless. My father was such a huge figure, such an icon to so many people, it felt like I could never be anything close to what he achieved – so why even try? Of course my addiction to booze and cocaine just made me feel my worthlessness even more.”

In a stunning turnaround, she faces her demons, not just those that haunted her through her addiction, but, with the courage that comes with sobriety, she comes face to face with
her father’s two killers – Janus Walus, still incarcerated, and Clive Derby Lewis, released in 2015 on medical parole. In a breathtaking twist of humanity, while searching for the truth behind her father’s assassination, Lindiwe Hani ultimately makes peace with herself and honours her father’s gigantic spirit.

Enter on our Facebook page by telling us – in no more more than two sentences – why you should receive a copy of this singular memoir. Entries close Monday 17 April.

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Listen to Lindiwe Hani discuss her father and the aftermath of his death at the launch of Being Chris Hani’s Daughter

This was a different launch. It was live on air – on Kaya FM. John Perlman interviewed Lindiwe Hani at the launch of her book Being Chris Hani’s Daughter, written with Melinda Ferguson. The crowd came to hear her talk about her life – dealing with the loss of her father, bearing the burden of his legacy, her addiction to cocaine and alcohol, and eventually coming face to face with the two men that murdered her father – Janusz Waluś and Clive Derby-Lewis.

Listen to the podcast:

Being Chris Hani's Daughter Book details













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Two books to remember Ahmed Kathrada by

Ahmed Kathrada, former political prisoner and anti-apartheid activist, sadly passed away this week on Tuesday 28 March after a brief illness. Kathrada dedicated himself to the struggle and remained politically active until his death. The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, which he founded, continues to work towards promoting ‘the values, rights and principles enshrined in the Freedom Charter and the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa’. He will be greatly missed.

Here are two books to remember him by:

A Free MindA Free Mind: Ahmed Kathrada’s Notebook from Robben Island

During his 26 years in jail, Ahmed Kathrada refused to allow the apartheid regime to confine his mind. Despite draconian prison censorship practices and heavily restricted access to the written word, Kathrada discovered a wealth of inspiring writings. A Free Mind presents extracts from poetry, novels, songs, sayings and letters that Kathrada transcribed and treasured as he served his life sentence in South Africa’s notorious Robben Island Maximum Security Prison. It includes quotes from Bertold Brecht, Mahatma Gandhi, Emily Brontë, Karl Marx, Olive Schreiner, Shabbir Banoobhai, Voltaire and many others.

Dear Ahmedbhai, Dear Zuleikhabehn
Dear Ahmedbhai, Dear Zuleikhabehn: The letters of Zuleikha Mayat and Ahhmed Kathrada 1979–1989

Dear Ahmedbhai, Dear Zuleikhabehn is the compilation of the beautiful letters sent between Rivonia trialist and political prisoner Ahmed Kathrada and Zuleikha Mayat, a self-described housewife, during apartheid’s last decade. These letters tell the story – all the more powerful for its ephemeral character – of a developing epistolary friendship between two people to whom history has brought different gains and losses. The collection is rich, not merely in historical content and stylistic interest, but in the experience it offers to the reader of an unfolding conversation, reflecting both the immediate worlds of its authors and a tumultuous period of South African history.

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Jan Theron argues that to understand Marikana you need to examine trade union history in Solidarity Road

Solidarity RoadJacana Media is proud to present Solidarity Road: The Story of a Trade Union in the Ending of Apartheid by Jan Theron:

The events leading to the Marikana massacre not only shattered South Africa’s image of itself as a democracy in which workers had a respected place, but also the image of Cosatu and its largest affiliate at the time. Subsequent events confirm that South Africa’s pre-eminent trade union federation has lost its way. To understand why this has happened, Theron argues, it is necessary to understand the choices made by the trade unions that formed it in the 1980s.

The Food and Canning Workers’ Union (FCWU) was perhaps the most famous of these, and had produced some of the country’s most prominent labour leaders – Ray Alexander, Oscar Mpetha and Liz Abrahams, among others. But by 1976, when Theron became its general secretary, it was on its last legs and riddled with corruption. Solidarity Road is an uncompromising account of a struggle to overcome corruption, as well as to revive a tradition of non-racial solidarity. A demonstration of non-racial solidarity by the workforce of Fatti’s and Moni’s in Cape Town catapulted the union into national prominence, in the same week as government tabled its race-based labour “reforms” in Parliament.

FCWU’s unprecedented victory in this strike meant it was well-placed to initiate the talks that eventually led to the formation of Cosatu. This was to be an independent federation, allied to political organisations fighting to end apartheid. However, for FCWU the basis of independence was always financial self-sufficiency coupled with zero tolerance of corruption. In this regard it was unlike the other trade unions involved in these talks. When the formation of a federation became imperative in the wake of the death in detention of Neil Aggett, FCWU’s Transvaal Secretary, FCWU merged with other trade unions to become Food and Allied Workers’ Union (FAWU). Compromises were made in this process that its members came to regret, and that were to facilitate the capture of a federation with so much promise. This is a story about the values that shaped the trade union struggle and the decisions and practices which undermined them.

About the author

Jan Theron was born and educated in Cape Town. At the age of 26 he became general secretary of FCWU, a position he occupied until 1986, when he became general secretary of FAWU. At the end of 1988 he took long leave to write a book, but did not return to the trade union. In 1990 he embarked on qualifying as an attorney, and has since combined legal practice with a part-time post at the University of Cape Town, where he has coordinated a research project on labour market policy and the changing nature of work. He has published in local and international journals and books.

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Don’t miss the launch of Promise and Despair by Martin Plaut at The Book Lounge

Invitation to the launch of Promise and Despair: The First Struggle for a Non-Racial South Africa by Martin Plaut


Promise and Despair: The First Struggle for a Non-Racial South AfricaJoin Jacana Media and The Book Lounge for the launch of Promise and Despair: The First Struggle for a Non-Racial South Africa by Martin Plaut to find out about the lobbyists who fought for the vote in 1909.

The struggle for freedom in South Africa goes back a long way, to the very founding of the country in 1910. Spearheading that struggle was a multi-ethnic delegation of South Africans who travelled in 1909 to London to lobby for a non-racial constitution. Drawing on fresh research, Promise and Despair is the extraordinary story of the founding of the first South Africa.

The event will take place on Thursday, 9 June, at The Book Lounge in Cape Town, with Plaut in conversation with Xolela Mangcu.

Don’t miss it!
Event Details

  • Date: Thursday, 9 June 2016
  • Time: 5:30 PM for 6:00 PM
  • Venue: The Book Lounge
    71 Roeland St
    Cape Town | Map
  • Guest: Xolela Mangcu
  • Refreshments: Come and join us for a glass of wine
  • RSVP: The Book Lounge,, 021 462 2425

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Don’t miss the launch of Promise and Despair by Martin Plaut at Kalk Bay Books

Promise and Despair: The First Struggle for a Non-Racial South AfricaKalk Bay Books invites you to the launch of Promise and Despair: The First Struggle for a Non-Racial South Africa by Martin Plaut, published by Jacana Media.

The struggle for freedom in South Africa goes back a long way, to the very founding of the country in 1910. Spearheading that struggle was a multi-ethnic delegation of South Africans who travelled in 1909 to London to lobby for a non-racial constitution. Drawing on fresh research, Promise and Despair is the extraordinary story of the founding of the first South Africa.

The event will take place on Tuesday, 14 June. Don’t miss it!

Event Details

  • Date: Tuesday, 14 June 2016
  • Time: 6:00 PM for 6:30 PM
  • Venue: Kalk Bay Books
    124 Main Rd
    Kalk Bay
    Cape Town | Map
  • Refreshments: Come and join us for a glass of Leopard’s Leap wine
  • RSVP: Kalk Bay Books,, 021 788 2266

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How a South African delegation to London in 1909 spearheaded the Struggle: Martin Plaut’s Promise and Despair

Promise and DespairComing soon from Jacana Media – Promise and Despair: The First Struggle for a Non-Racial South Africa by Martin Plaut:

The Struggle for freedom in South Africa goes back a long way, to the very founding of the country in 1910.

Spearheading that struggle was a remarkable delegation of South Africans of all colours who travelled to London to lobby for a non-racial constitution. Led by Will Schreiner, a famous lawyer, former Cape Prime Minister and brother of the novelist Olive Schreiner, it included some of the greatest African and Coloured leaders of the day – equivalent in stature to the black leaders who helped found the second South Africa in 1994.

The discussions in London in 1909 would in fact prove seminal to the founding of the African National Congress.

About the author

Born in South Africa in 1950, Martin Plaut received his first degree from the University of Cape town before going on to do an MA at the University of Warwick. In 1984 he joined the BBC, working primarily on Africa. He has reported from many parts of the continent but specialised in the horn ofAfrica and Southern Africa. He became Africa editor of BBC World Service News in 2003 and retired from the BBC in 2013. He then joined the Institute of Commonwealth Studies as senior research Fellow. In April and May 2013 he was based at the University of Cape Town as Writer in Residence at the Centre for African Studies.

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When the promise of democracy never materialises: Writing the Decline, the new book by Richard Pithouse

Writing the DeclinePresenting the much-anticipated new book from Richard Pithouse, Writing the Decline: On the Struggle for South Africa’s Democracy.

Pithouse, an activist intellectual who has been an important contributor to the South African public sphere for 20 years, offers a penetrating and beautifully written exploration of the escalating crisis in South Africa in the Zuma era.

Writing the Decline, often written with a view from the underside of society but also always acutely aware of global developments, brings activist and academic knowledge together to provide a searing account of our condition. It takes on xenophobia, racism, homophobia, inequality and political repression.

In a moment when old certainties are breaking down, and new ideas and social forces are taking the stage, this book offers a compelling invitation to take democracy seriously.

Praise for the book:

Richard Pithouse is one of the most elegant writers I know – and also lucid, rational and egalitarian in the best possible way.

- Niren Tolsi

This is writing that dresses the oppressed in human clothing.

- S’bu Zikode, founding president of Abahlali baseMjondolo

This collection by Richard Pithouse shows a deep commitment to connecting the struggles of vulnerable people across the globe, doing so with an enviable appreciation of history and structural analysis, and refusing to fall into the South African temptation of parochial analysis.

- Eusebius McKaiser, political analyst, broadcaster, lecturer and writer

The elegance of Richard’s writing is unparalleled, and the power of his arguments striking. This book reveals, in the starkest terms, what is at stake in the discourse and practice of emancipation in contemporary SA.

- Achille Mbembe, author of On the Postcolony

Richard Pithouse is one of our finest essayists. He is the proverbial canary in the coalmine.

- Sisonke Msimang, writer and activist

Richard Pithouse’s chronicle of the past seven years of struggles from South Africa’s underside … is written with such clarity, succinctness, and unusual beauty that it stands as a powerful testament of what it means to love a country, its people and their aspirations.

- Lewis Gordon, author of What Fanon Said

About the author

Richard Pithouse teaches politics at Rhodes University, where he lectures on contemporary political theory and urban studies. He writes regularly for journals and newspapers, both print and online, and his commentary is widely read.

Related stories:

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Presenting the penultimate volume of the definitive documentary history of the South African Struggle



From Protest to Challenge Volume 2In 2008, Jacana Media proposed republishing a revised and updated second edition of the entire From Protest to Challenge series, which is a multivolume account of the struggle to achieve democracy and end racial discrimination in South Africa.

Professor Gail Gerhart agreed to oversee the revisions and, within the limits of space and time available, to update the original series to take into account more recent academic work by other authors. We are now adding the revised and updated second edition of Volume 2: Hope and Challenge 1935-1952 to the books already published: Volume 1: Protest and Hope 1882-1934; Volume 3: Challenge and Violence 1953-1964; Volume 5: Nadir and Resurgence 1964-1979; and Volume 6: Challenge and Victory 1980-1990.

The second edition of From Protest to Challenge is different in several ways from the first. The three oldest documentary volumes have been reorganised into conventional chapters to make them more user-friendly. All the documentary volumes now contain maps and photographs, as well as more comprehensive indexes than those in the original series.

During two extended periods of pioneering field research by Gwendolen Carter, Thomas Karis and Sheridan Johns in South Africa in 1963 and 1964 – a period of growing political tension – dozens of South Africans gave them documents or loaned them material to photocopy, often in the hope of preventing irreplaceable records from falling into the hands of the police. In addition, lawyers for the defendants in the 1956-61 treason trial contributed a complete set of the trial transcript and the preliminary examination, as well as a set of virtually all the documents assembled by the defence in preparation for the trial. Added to the materials that the team was able to photocopy from archival collections at several South African universities and at the South African Institute of Race Relations, these months of fieldwork provided the initial foundation for what was to become the first four volumes of From Protest to Challenge.

About the authors

Gail M Gerhart is the author of Black Power in South Africa: the Evolution of an Ideology, the co-author of volumes 3, 4, 5 and 6 of From Protest to Challenge, and the editor of the second edition of the series.

Sheridan Johns is the author of the first edition of Volume 1 of From Protest to Challenge (1972), and Raising the Red Flag: The International Socialist League and the Communist Party of South Africa, 1914–1932, and the co-editor of the two-volume series South Africa and the Communist International: A Documentary History, and Mining for Development in the Third World.

Thomas G Karis is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the City College, City University of New York.

From Protest to Challenge Volume 1From Protest to Challenge Volume 3From Protest to Challenge Volume 5From Protest to Challenge Volume 6

Book details

  • From Protest to Challenge Volume 1: Protest and Hope 1882-1934 by Sheridan Johns and Gail Gerhart
    Volume 1 reproduces ninety-nine primary source documents, accompanied by a test that sets the documents in historical context. Authors of the documents include John Dube, Josiah Gumede, John Tengo Jabavu, Clements Kadalie, Charlotte Maxeke, Sol Plaatje and Pixlet Seme. New documents by Abdullah Abdurahman, Margery Perham, Mohandas Gandhi and the Communist Party of South Africa have been added.
    Book homepage
    EAN: 978770098800
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  • From Protest to Challenge Volume 3: Challenge and Violence 1953-1964 by Thomas G Karis and Gail M Gerhart
    Volume 3 deals with the crucial period of the 1950s and the early 1960s. These were years of mass passive resistance to apartheid; years when the ANC was able to rally hundreds of thousands of supporters for its strategy of non-violent protest. This was the period when the increasingly brutal repressive measures of the state, culminating in the Sharpeville massacre and the banning of the ANC and PAC, finally turned the movement away from its proud tradition of non-violence into the difficult and protracted path of armed struggle.
    Book homepage
    EAN: 9781770098824
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  • From Protest to Challenge Volume 5: Nadir and Resurgence 1964-1979 by Thomas G Karis and Gail M Gerhart
    Volume 5 of this magnificent historical record continues the indispensable study of the struggle for freedom and justice in South Africa. In addition to extensive background essays, it includes formal documents, underground and ephemeral materials, and statements written in exile or in Robben Island prison that have not previously been published.
    Book homepage
    EAN: 9781770098848
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  • From Protest to Challenge Volume 6: Challenge and Victory 1980-1990 by Clive L Glaser and Gail M Gerhart
    Volume 6 takes up the story in 1980 and examines the crucial decade that preceded the collapse of the apartheid system. As with earlier volumes in the series, it combines narrative with a wealth of primary source materials that record the words of the men and women who shaped South Africa’s complex history.
    Book homepage
    EAN: 9781770098855
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