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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

The local non-fiction to look forward to in 2016 (Jan – June)

The local non-fiction books to look forward to in 2016 (Jan - June)


Books LIVE is proud to present the list of non-fiction books to look out for in the first half of 2016.

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Three eagerly anticipated books that will make an appearance this year are Kevin Bloom and Richard Poplak’s magnum opus on Africa, Continental Shift, Alex Eliseev’s examination of the Betty Ketani murder investigation, Cold Case Confession, and Don Pinnock’s City Press Non-fiction Award-winning book, Gang Town.

Patrick Craven’s The Battle for Cosatu: An Insider’s View and The Bribe: How South Africa Stole the World Cup by Ray Hartley are sure to make a splash.

Letters of Stone: Discovering A Family’s History In Nazi Germany by Capetonian Steven Robins is already receiving some very favourable reviews, with Antjie Krog calling it “a most exceptional and unforgettable book”.

Finally, William Dicey, the author of the critically acclaimed Borderline (2004), has a new book of essays out titled Mongrel, which comes highly recommended by Ivan Vladislavić.

Looking ahead towards the second half of the year, Jessica Pitchford’s Switched At Birth – the true story of the boys who were accidentally swapped at an East Rand hospital in 2010 – is out in July, and is sure to capture the imagination. In November, Trevor Noah’s collection of essays will be published, while the long-awaited sequel to Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom is expected in November or December.

If you think we’ve left something out, feel free to let us know in the comments below, or on Facebook or Twitter.

Ed’s note: We usually make a point of not using the word ‘local’ to refer South African books, but include it the title of this bi-annual list simply to differentiate it from the many international lists that pop up at this time of year.

Without further ado, have a look at our list:

Note: Covers are subject to change, and information was provided by the publishers


RelocationsRelocations: Reading Culture in South Africa edited by Cóilín Parsons, Imraan Coovadia and Alexandra Dodd
UCT Press

Relocations brings together a selection of the Gordon Institute for the Performing and Creative Arts Great Texts/Big Questions public lecture series by world-renowned artists, writers and thinkers

The authors range from novelists André Brink and Imraan Coovadia (one of the collection’s editors), to poets Gabeba Baderoon and Rustum Kozain, to artist William Kentridge and social activist Zackie Achmat. The topics are as wide as Don Quixote, Marx and Lincoln, trout fishing, Hamlet, the 19th-century Russian writer Gogol and Nabokov’s novel Lolita.

More about the book

The Compassionate EnglishwomanThe Compassionate Englishwoman: Emily Hobhouse in the Boer War by Robert Eales
UCT Press

In 1899 the South African War broke out. As the war progressed, in London the upper-class Emily Hobhouse learned of the camps in southern Africa that contained mostly Boer women and children who had been displaced by the hostilities. She was so concerned that she decided to go to South Africa to investigate. By herself and on her own initiative, she travelled by ship to Cape Town, to begin the distribution of aid to these camps.

More about the book

Letters of StoneLetters of Stone by Steven Robins
Penguin Random House South Africa

“This is a most exceptional and unforgettable book” – Antjie Krog

Letters of Stone tracks Robins’s journey of discovery about the lives and fates of the Robinski family, in southern Africa, Berlin, Riga and Auschwitz. It also explores the worldwide rise of eugenics and racial science before the war, which justified the murder of Jews by the Nazis and caused South Africa and other countries to close their doors to Jewish refugees.

Most of all, this book is a poignant reconstruction of a family trapped in an increasingly terrifying and deadly Nazi state, and of the immense pressure on Robins’ father in faraway South Africa, which forced him to retreat into silence.

More about the book

Continental ShiftContinental Shift by Kevin Bloom and Richard Poplak
Jonathan Ball

Africa is falling. Africa is succeeding. Africa is betraying its citizens. Africa is a place of starvation, corruption, disease. African economies are soaring faster than any on earth. Africa is squandering its bountiful resources. Africa is a roadmap for global development. Africa is turbulent. Africa is stabilising. Africa is doomed. Africa is the future.

All of these pronouncements prove equally true and false, as South African journalists Richard Poplak and Kevin Bloom discover on their nine-year road trip through the paradoxical continent they call home.

How to Invest Like Warren BuffettHow to Invest Like Warren Buffett by Alec Hogg
Jonathan Ball

This is the South African guide on investing like Warren Buffett by award-winning financial publisher Alec Hogg.

Learn how the investment genius of Buffett can be applied to South African investing. This book is packed with invaluable lessons and insights from the world’s greatest wealth creator.

Useful charts and graphics are included in the book to provide more details about concepts and shares.


nullTouched by Biko by Andile M-Afrika
Unisa Press

This is a political memoir of life in a rural South African township – with Andile M-Afrika weaving a lyrical tale from actual events surrounding this country’s struggle history, where Steve Bantu Biko played a pivotal role.

M-Afrika’s engaging narrative delves deep into his personal encounters with people, political events and day-to-day life in rural King Williams Town, Eastern Cape. What speaks volumes, are the pervasive echoes of Biko’s presence, on those who shared life in this historic village.

Written with a unique vibrancy and fine wit to enthrall readers from all walks of life, Touched by Biko will be enjoyed by all with an interest in the South African struggle history.

Murder at Small KoppieMurder at Small Koppie by Greg Marinovich
Penguin Random House South Africa

Renowned photojournalist Greg Marinovich explores the truth behind the Marikana massacre, looking specifically at the largely untold slaughter at Small Koppie.

Drawing on his own meticulous investigations, eyewitness accounts and the findings of the Marikana Commission of Inquiry set up by President Jacob Zuma following the massacre, Marinovich accurately reconstructs that fateful day as well as the events leading up to the strike.

This is the definitive account of the Marikana massacre from the journalist whose award-winning investigation into the tragedy was called the most important piece of South African journalism post-apartheid.

More about the book

nullThe New Black Middle Class in South Africa by Roger Southall
Jacana Media

Despite the fact that the “rise of the black middle class” is one of the most visible aspects of post-apartheid society and a major actor in the reshaping of South African society, analysis of it has been lacking. Rather, the image presented by the media has been of “black diamonds” and corrupt “tenderpreneurs”.

This book presents a new way of looking at the black middle class which seeks to complicate that picture, an analysis that reveals its impactful role in the recent history of South Africa.

nullThe Struggle Continues: 50 Years of Tyranny in Zimbabwe by David Coltart
Jacana Media

The memoir of David Coltart, one of the most prominent political and human rights figures in Zimbabwe. Over the years, Coltart has been threatened, detained, spuriously prosecuted and has survived several direct attempts on his life.

As a young man, Coltart was urged by Robert Mugabe to return to Zimbabwe from South Africa, but he would become one of Mugabe’s favourite targets of vilification, branded a traitor to the state and worthy of remaining in the country only as a resident of one of its prisons.

Simply DeliciousSimply Delicious by Zola Nene

In Nene’s own words: “Food has always been a huge part of my life; important occasions were always marked with a feast of some sort …”

That’s exactly what Simply Delicious is all about; it’s Nene’s culinary career told through her recipes, interspersed with snippets and perspectives of her life journey, including tributes to the people who have inspired and influenced her cooking style and explaining the reason for certain culinary choices that she has made.

Nene is currently the resident chef on Expresso Morning Show.

More about the book

nullThe Dot Spot:A Journey into Sex and Love by Dorothy Black
Jacana Media

The Dot Spot will be South Africa’s first, fun and frank “how-to” guide on untangling the mysteries of sex, love and relationships.

Written in an upfront, entertaining and sassy style, the book uncovers everything you’ve ever wanted to know about dating and relationships, from kink to sexual self-empowerment.

All of us want to find the similarities and connections in the secrets, fantasies and desires that we have but are often too shy to talk about. This book will spark that conversation with unbridled candour.

nullDorothea Bleek: A Life of Scholarship by Jill Weintroub
Wits University Press

Dorothea Bleek (1873 to 1948) devoted her life to completing the “bushman researches” her father and aunt had begun in the closing decades of the 19th century.

How has history treated Dorothea Bleek? Has she been recognised as a scholar in her own right? Was she an adventurer, or was she conservative, a researcher who belittled the people she studied? These are some of the questions with which Jill Weintroub starts this thoughtful biography.

Weintroub is Research Fellow at the Wits Rock Art Research Institute.

More about the book

The Banting SolutionThe Banting Solution by Bernadine Douglas and Bridgette Allan
Penguin Random House South Africa

At last, the banting book that will answer ALL your questions about the banting lifestyle AND provide you with the solution to permanent weight loss!

The Banting Solution answers banters’ most pressing questions, including mythbusting, meal plans, and how to bant on a budget.

Most importantly, it teaches us how to get rid of those unwanted kilos and keep them off forever.

nullThe Reb and the Rebel: Jewish Narratives in South Africa 1892-1913 by Carmel Schrire and Gwynne Schrire
UCT Press

Unedited, unbowdlerised memoirs of the origin and development of the South African Jewish community are few and far between.

The Reb and the Rebel contains three previously unpublished autobiographical works – a diary, a poem and a memoir – by Yehuda Leib Schrire (1851-1912) and his son, Harry Nathan. Few of the early immigrants to South Africa were writers, let alone poets, and the social history provided in these documents embellishes and enlivens the picture of South African Jewish communities at the turn of the 20th century.

Mongrel: EssaysMongrel: Essays by William Dicey

From the author of the critically acclaimed Borderline (2004), Mongrel investigates a range of topics – radical environmentalism, the faultlines between farmer and farm worker, the joys and sorrows of reading – yet drifts of concern and sensibility draw the collection together. Several essays touch on how books can move, and sometimes maul, their readers.

Ivan Vladislavić says: “Dicey is what I look for in a writer: he has something to say and he puts it across with skill, intelligence and wit.”

More about the book

To Quote MyselfTo Quote Myself by Khaya Dlanga
Pan Macmillan

In To Quote Myself, Khaya Dlanga recounts entertaining and moving stories about his roots and upbringing in rural Transkei, how he made his mark at school as well as his time spent studying advertising and as a stand-up comedian.

Dlanga also shares his political views, and how he overcame homelessness to become one of the most influential marketers in South Africa.

The cover of this new edition, designed by Ayanda Mbanjwa, was the winning entry in a competition held by Pan Macmillan last year.


Gang TownGang Town by Don Pinnock

Gang Town is the winner of the 2013 City Press Non-fiction Award.

Why is Cape Town one of the most violent cities on earth? What is it that makes gangs so attractive to young people? Why is it getting worse? Bestselling author Don Pinnock answers these questions in Gang Town, and looks at solutions to the problem.

More about the book

nullUmkonto We Sizwe: The ANC’s Armed Struggle by Thula Simpson
Penguin Random House South Africa

Written in a fresh, immediate style, Umkhonto we Sizwe is an honest account of the armed struggle. It does not seek to glorify or to whitewash, but rather to chronicle a fascinating series of events from the beginning of the struggle to the negotiated settlement of the 1990s.

Thula Simpson is a senior lecturer in the Department of Historical and Heritage Studies at the University of Pretoria. He has spent a decade researching and writing on the history of the ANC’s liberation struggle. His research has been conducted in Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, the United Kingdom and most extensively in South Africa.

nullExit! by Grizelda Grootboom
Jacana Media

Exit! is the story of Grizelda Grootboom life of prostitution and her ultimate escape from it all.

Grizelda’s life was dramatically changed when she was gang raped at the age of nine by teenagers in her township. Her story starts there. It is a story about the cycle of poverty, family abandonment, dislocation, and survival in the streets of Cape Town.

Grizelda is now an activist against human trafficking who supports fellow survivors undergoing rehabilitation.

Exit! is a BlackBird Books title.

nullOwn Your Space: The Toolkit for the Working Woman by Nadia Bilchik and Lori Miller
Pan Macmillan

Own Your Space provides practical tools and insights gleaned from workshops held around the world and from interviews with some of South Africa’s most accomplished women.

The book will provide you with tried-and-tested techniques, tips and advice to help you boost your career, enhance your confidence and truly own your space on every level.

nullThe End of Whiteness: Satanism and Family Murder in South Africa by Nicky Falkof
Jacana Media

Towards the end of apartheid, white South Africans found themselves in the middle of new social and political change that showed itself in some strangely morbid “symptoms”. This book discusses two of the primary symptoms that appeared in the media and in popular literature at the time – an apparent threat from a cult of white Satanists and a so-called epidemic of white family murder.

Nicky Falkof is senior lecturer in Media Studies at Wits University.

Critical Thinking, Science, and PseudoscienceCritical Thinking, Science, and Pseudoscience: Why We Can’t Trust Our Brains by Caleb W Lack and Jacques Rousseau

This unique text for undergraduate courses teaches students to apply critical thinking skills across all academic disciplines by examining popular pseudoscientific claims through a multidisciplinary lens.

From alien abductions and psychic phenomena to strange creatures and unsupported alternative medical treatments, the text uses examples from a wide range of pseudoscience fields and brings evidence from diverse disciplines to critically examine these erroneous claims.

nullThe Code: The Power of “I Will” by Shaun Tomson
Pan Macmillan

This book is about many things – faith, courage, creativity, determination – but above all it’s about the promises we make to ourselves about the future.

Shaun Tomson is a former World Surfing Champion, and considered one of the 16 greatest surfers of all time. He is a business finance graduate from the University of Natal and the creator of two popular apparel brands: Instinct in the 1980s and Solitude in the 1990s. He lives in Santa Barbara, California, and is an inspirational speaker.

nullTrail Blazer: My Life as an Ultra-distance Trail Runner by Ryan Sandes with Steve Smith
Zebra Press

What does it take to run a six-day race through the world’s harshest deserts? Or 100 miles in a single day at altitudes that would leave you breathless just walking? More than that, though: what is it like to win these races? South Africa’s ultra-trail-running superstar – and former rudderless party animal – Ryan Sandes has done just that.

Trail Blazer: My Life as an Ultra-distance Trail Runner is written with bestselling author and journalist Steve Smith.

nullIs It Just Me Or Is Everything Kak? The Zuma Years by Tim Richman
Burnet Media

Although we thought we’d got it all off our chests in the late 2000s with the original Is It Just Me Or Is Everything Kak? series, well, it’s back on our chests, isn’t it?

After the annus horribilus Saffercanus of 2015 – after the doom and gloom of How Long Will South Africa Survive? and We Have Now Begun Our Descent (NB: bestsellers!) – it’s time once again for a book that unites South Africans in their misery and allows us to laugh it off. Just in time for the National Elections, of course!

nullThe Story Of A House: Fables And Feasts From La Creuzette by Louis Jansen van Vuuren and Hardy Olivier

It took 15 years to fully restore the impressive Château de la Creuzette to her former glory. She continues to rest in her shaded park, surrounded by centuries-old trees, and welcomes her expectant guests with open arms.

Apart from the almost 90 new recipes, there is an additional Crookbook in which the two hosts share their easy shortcut recipes and tips. The Story of a House is not only two cookbooks in one, but also a richly adorned reading book that traces the history of a manor house and follows the story of its people.

Writing the DeclineWriting the Decline by Richard Pithouse
Jacana Media

This book tracks the steady decay of the democratic promise in recent years. Written from an understanding that democracy should be for everyone, rather than merely a contest between elites, it explores the growing authoritarianism of the state, the deepening social crisis, and avenues of hope and possibility.

Dr Richard Pithouse teaches politics at Rhodes University, where he lectures on contemporary political theory and urban studies.

Writing the Decline has received high praise from Niren Tolsi and Eusebius McKaiser.

nullThe Goddess Mojo Bootcamp by Kagiso Msimango
Jacana Media

The Goddess Mojo Bootcamp will help you discover an authentic you to find real long-lasting love.

This is the book for you whether you want a man for a reason, a season, a lifetime, or one to match each of your handbags … it has zero moral pontifications. It won’t warn you against sleeping with a man on the first date. There are no 90-day rules in this book.

Kagiso Msimango is the founder of The Goddess Academy and the author of The Goddess Bootcamp.

The Goddess Mojo Bootcamp is a MFBooks title.

nullRiver of Gold: Narratives and Exploration of the Great Limpopo by Mike Gardner, Peter Norton and Clive Walker
Jacana Media

Here for the first time is the only full account of South Africa’s most iconic river, its history, its ancient past, wildlife, landscapes, early kingdoms and their people, warfare, trade, slaves, 19th-century hunting, travel and adventures and the conservation efforts of four national parks of which the renowned Kruger National Park is one.

The book (and the river) encompasses two world heritage sites, two Transfrontier conservation areas, private game reserves, some of the richest rock art sites in southern Africa with the river’s “source” centred at the site of the world’s richest gold deposits ever discovered, Johannesburg.

nullThe Sword and the Pen: A Lifetime in South African Journalism by Allister Sparks
Jonathan Ball

Legendary journalist Allister Sparks joined his first newspaper at age 17. In The Sword and the Pen, he tells the story of how he watched and chronicled and participated in his country’s unfolding drama for more than 60 years.

Nelson Mandela said Sparks’s “outspoken views have served the cause of democracy in this country magnificently”.

In trenchant prose, he has written a remarkable account of both a life lived to its fullest capacity as well as the surrounding narrative of South Africa from the birth of apartheid, the rise of political opposition, the dawn of democracy, right through to the crisis we are experiencing today.

nullThabo Mbeki: A Jacana Pocket Biography by Adekeye Adebajo
Jacana Media

This is a fresh and concise reappraisal of Thabo Mbeki, South Africa’s second democratic president in succession to Nelson Mandela.

Though his term of office was controversial in many respects and ended in a spectacular palace coup at the ANC’s Polokwane Conference in 2007, his reputation has been gradually undergoing rehabilitation since then, particularly because of widespread disillusion his successor as president, Jacob Zuma.

Part of the Jacana Pocket series.

nullJack Simons – Teacher, Scholar and Comrade: A Jacana Pocket Biography by Hugh Macmillan
Jacana Media

Jack Simons (1907–1995) was one of the leading left-wing intellectuals – and one of the greatest teachers – in 20th-century South Africa.

As a lecturer in African Studies at the University of Cape Town from 1937 until he was prevented from teaching by the government in 1964, and thereafter through his lectures and writings in exile, he had a profound effect on the thinking of generations of white and black students and on the liberation movement as a whole.

Part of the Jacana Pocket series.


nullThe Disruptors: Social Entrepreneurs Reinventing Business and Society by Kerryn Krige and Gus Silber

Can business change the world? Can the world change business?

For a new breed of social entrepreneurs, striving to build and grow enterprises that fight social ills, foster opportunity, and help to improve society, the answer is not can, it’s must.

From healthcare to mobile gaming, from education to recycling, from dancing to gardening, these are the game-changers, the difference-makers, the doers of good. Here are their stories.

Kerryn Krige heads up the Network for Social Entrepreneurs at GIBS, and has worked in the social sector since 2001. Gus Silber is an award-winning journalist, editor speechwriter and author, with a special interest in social entrepreneurship.

nullThe Maverick Insider: A Struggle for Union Independence in a Time of National Liberation by Johnny Copelyn
Pan Macmillan

Johnny Copelyn is the CEO of Hosken Consolidated Investment (HCI) Limited and Johnnic Holdings Limited, a position he has held since 1997. From 1974 he was general secretary of various unions in the clothing and textiles industries before becoming a member of parliament in 1994.

The Maverick Insider provides a rich and detailed recording of the important years of building trade unions in South Africa from the 1970s onwards, in particular the Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers Union (SACTWU).

nullZimbabwe’s migrants and South Africa’s Border Farms: The Roots of Impermanence by Maxim Bolt
Wits University Press

“In precise, limpid prose, Maxim Bolt brings to life the human ecology of a border farm. [...] It is a significant achievement.” – Jonny Steinberg

During the Zimbabwean crisis, millions crossed through the apartheid-era border fence, searching for ways to make ends meet. Maxim Bolt explores the lives of Zimbabwean migrant labourers, of settled black farm workers and their dependants, and of white farmers and managers, as they intersect on the border between Zimbabwe and South Africa.

nullSouth Africa’s Settler Colonialism and Liberal Democracy by Thiven Reddy
Wits University Press

Two unmistakable features describe post-apartheid politics. The first is the formal framework of liberal democracy, including regular elections, multiple political parties, and a range of progressive social rights. The second is the politics of the “extraordinary”, which include a political discourse that relies on threats and the use of violence, the crude re-racialisation of numerous conflicts, and protests over various popular grievances.

In this highly original work, Thiven Reddy shows how conventional approaches to understanding democratisation have failed to capture the complexities of South Africa’s post-apartheid transition. Rather, as a product of imperial expansion, the South African state, capitalism and citizen identities have been uniquely shaped by a particular mode of domination, namely “settler colonialism”.

nullFrom Protest to Challenge: Volume 2: Hope and Challenge, 1935–1952 by Thomas G Karis and Sheridan Johns, revised and updated by Gail M Gerhart
Jacana Media

From Protest to Challenge is a multi-volume chronicle of the struggle to achieve democracy and end racial discrimination in South Africa.

Beginning in 1882 during the heyday of European imperialism, these volumes document the history of race conflict, protest, and political mobilisation by South Africa’s black majority.

Volumes 3, 5 and 6 of the series were launched in 2013.

nullThis Present Darkness: A History of Nigerian Organised Crime by Stephen Ellis
Jacana Media

Successful Nigerian criminal networks have a global reach, interacting with their Italian, Latin American and Russian counterparts. Yet in 1944, a British colonial official wrote that “the number of persistent and professional criminals is not great” in Nigeria and that “crime as a career has so far made little appeal to the young Nigerian”.

This latest book by celebrated African historian Stephen Ellis traces the origins of Nigerian organised crime to the last years of colonial rule, when nationalist politicians acquired power at regional level.

nullScorched Earth: 100 Years of Southern African Potteries by Wendy Gers
Jacana Media

Scorched Earth will be the first comprehensive history of fine art potteries in southern Africa, with a focus on pioneer ceramic studios and workshops.

Wendy Gers is a former curator at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum, and now lectures at l’Ecole Supérieure d’Art et de Design de Valenciennes, France. Gers curated the prestigious Taiwan Ceramics Biennale 2014 and is a research associate at the University of Johannesburg and an associate advisor at The Design Cradle, Cape Town.

nullPromise and Despair: The First Struggle for a Non-Racial South Africa by Martin Plaut
Jacana Media

Most people believe that black South Africans obtained the vote for the first time in 1994. In fact, for almost a century suitably qualified black people had enjoyed the vote in the Cape and Natal, and in certain constituencies had decided the outcome of parliamentary elections.

This is the story of the struggle for a non-racial constitution, with its centrepiece being a lively account of the delegation that travelled to London in mid-1909, led by a famous white lawyer and former prime minister of the Cape, Will Schreiner, brother of the novelist Olive Schreiner.


Sigh the Beloved Country by Bongani Madondo
Pan Macmillan

With his customary flair and eye for detail, Bongani Madondo will delight his readers in this new essay collection.

The book displays his unique take on all things South African, including people and places, issues ranging from “Kissing & Lynching the Black Body” to “New Money Culture” and “Student Politics”, along with criticism and homage to our Beloved Country and those who call it home.

With a foreword by Rian Malan.

I am the Girl Who was Raped by Michelle Hattingh
Modjaji Books

In the morning Michelle Hattingh presented her Psychology honours thesis on men’s perceptions of rape, and in the evening she was raped herself.

Within minutes of getting help, Michelle realised she’ll never be herself again. She’s now “the girl who was raped”. Her memoir of this experience is an act of reclamation for herself and for all the women in South Africa who are raped every day.

Michelle Hattingh works as senior online content producer at Marie Claire SA. Her work has been published in Elle SA, Marie Claire SA and the Mail & Guardian. I’m the Girl Who was Raped is her first book.

Cold Case Confession by Alex Eliseev
Pan Macmillan

Whether the real mastermind behind the Tandiwe “Betty” Ketani murder will be captured remains unknown, so does the true motive for the crime. In court, prosecutors said the case was like a mosaic, with all the pieces coming together to form a disturbing picture. Not all the pieces have been found. But already, this has become one of South Africa’s most intriguing crime stories.

Dubbed a “troublemaker” for his investigative work, Eyewitness News reporter Alex Eliseev is an award-winning hard news journalist who has reported from countries such as Haiti, Japan and Libya.

nullThe Battle for Cosatu: An Insider’s View by Patrick Craven

In The Battle for Cosatu, former Cosatu insider and national spokesperson Patrick Craven recounts the happenings of the last five years of the biggest and most powerful labour federation, leading up to the expulsion of Numsa and Zwelinzima Vavi.

Craven has become the go-to person for labour-related commentary. In this, his first book, we are given insight into one of the most tumultuous times for trade unions in post-apartheid South Africa.

Drawing strongly on personal recollections, media interpretations and official documents, Craven exposes the breakdown of the tripartite alliance – and the implications of this for South Africa’s labour movement and the country as a whole.

nullThe Road to Soweto by Julian Brown
Jacana Media

This account of the decade that preceded the Soweto Uprising of June 1976 will transform our understanding of this crucial flashpoint of South Africa’s history. It begins by showing how students at South Africa’s segregated white and black universities began to reorganise themselves as a political force; how new ideas about race reinvigorated political thought; and how debates around confrontation shaped the development of new forms of protest.

Julian Brown is a lecturer in the Department of Political Studies at Wits and the author of South Africa’s Insurgent Citizens.

nullYour First Year of Varsity: A Survival Guide for University and College by Shelagh Foster and Lehlohonolo Mofokeng

Essential reading for matriculants, first year university and college students – and their parents!

Your First Year of Varsity talks directly to Grade 12 learners and first year students who arrive at their place of higher education filled with hopes, expectations, fears and dreams; yet with little understanding of what this new world means and how to adapt, grow – and graduate.

Shelagh Foster is the author of the highly popular Your First Year of Work. Lehlohonolo Mofokeng is a Master of Education candidate from Wits as a Mandela-Rhodes Scholar.

nullNatures of Africa: Ecocriticism and Animal Studies in Contemporary Cultural Forms edited by Fiona Moolla
Wits University Press

Environmental and animal studies are rapidly growing areas of interest across a number of disciplines, but there are few books that show how nature in Africa is represented, celebrated, mourned or commoditised.

Natures of Africa features new research from East Africa and Zimbabwe, as well as the ecocritical and eco-activist “powerhouses” of Nigeria and South Africa.

Fiona Moolla is the author of Reading Nuruddin Farah: The Individual, the Novel and the Idea of Home.

nullApartheid and The Making of a Black Psychologist by Chabani Manganyi
Wits University Press

Few autobiographies exploring the “life of the mind” and the “history of ideas” have come out of South Africa, and this intriguing memoir details what it meant to be a committed black intellectual activist during the apartheid years.

Starting with his rural upbringing in Mavambe in Limpopo province in the 1940s, Chabani Manganyi’s life story unfolds at a gentle pace, tracing the twists and turns of his journey from humble beginnings to Yale University in the USA, and beyond.

nullLand Dispossession and Resistance in Gordonia: A Hidden History of the Northern Cape, 1800-1990 by Martin Legassick

This book presents aspects of a generally unknown “brown” and “black” history of the Gordonia region of the Northern Cape Province, which has received relatively little attention from historians.

The essays are intended to emphasise the lives of ordinary people, and are also in part an exercise in “applied history” – historical writing with a direct application to people’s lives in the present.

nullAlways Anastacia: A Transgender Life in South Africa by Anastacia Tomson
Jonathan Ball

Born into an orthodox Jewish family in Johannesburg and brought up as a boy, Tomson was never sure how much of her conflicted sense of self to blame on her often troubled family life and strict upbringing. It would take her nearly 30 years, a great deal of questioning and a bravery she could never have imagined to find the peace and self-acceptance she had always sought.

Tomson’s moving memoir is the first of its kind in South Africa.


nullBlacks DO Caravan by Fikile Hlatshwayo
Jacana Media

This book is written by a black woman whose voice so clearly disrupts the stereotypes that so many have grown accustomed to.

This trip began on 15 September 2014 and lasted three months. Fikile and her family visited over 25 caravan parks. They covered over 10 000 kilometres, and traversed all nine provinces. Fikile came to the realisation that South Africa is still a divided nation: “The idea that camping is for white people is so entrenched, and my question is, who set these standards?”

nullThe Bribe: How South Africa Stole the World Cup by Ray Hartley
Jonathan Ball

Behind the 2010 World Cup lay years of corporate skulduggery, crooked companies rigging tenders and match-fixing involving the national team.

In The Bribe: How South Africa Stole the World Cup, Ray Hartley reveals the story of an epic national achievement and the people who undermined it in pursuit of their own interests. It is the real story of the 2010 World Cup.

AB: The Autobiography by AB de Villiers
Pan Macmillan

This is AB’s story, in his own words … the story of the youngest of three talented, sports-mad brothers growing up in Warmbaths, of a boy who excelled at tennis, rugby and cricket, of a youngster who made his international debut at the age of 20 and was then selected in every single Test played by South Africa for the next 11 seasons, of a batsman who has started to redefine the art, being ranked among the world’s very best in Test, ODI and T20.

This is the story of a modern sporting phenomenon.

nullEntrepreneurship 101 Tackling the basics of business start-up in South Africa by Joshua Maluleke
Jacana Media

Entrepreneurship 101 aims to educate South Africans about the fundamentals of entrepreneurship while looking at a uniquely South African business environment.

Joshula Maluleke has included a section on frequently asked questions at the back of the book in an attempt to provide in-depth answers to some of the questions he gets asked at his entrepreneurship talks. Questions like: Can I register my spaza shop? I have registered a business with CIPC and government has not given me an opportunity to do business, what must I do?

The Thabo Mbeki I Know edited by Sifiso Ndlovu and Miranda Strydom
Pan Macmillan

The Thabo Mbeki I Know is a collection of contributions on and personal recollections about former South African President Thabo Mbeki.

In some cases, individuals have been interviewed about their interactions with Mbeki, specifically with this collection in mind, and other contributions have been authored by the individuals concerned.

These personal reflections present a fresh perspective on Mbeki’s time in office and his legacy.

nullA Citizen’s Guide to Crime Statistics by Anine Kriegler and Mark Shaw
Jonathan Ball

A Citizen’s Guide to Crime Statistics provides a basis to understand South Africa’s crime statistics in a manner that is accessible to the general public.

Each chapter challenges a set of oft-repeated assumptions about how bad crime is, where it occurs, and who its victims are. It also demonstrates how and why crime statistics need to be matched with other forms of research, including criminal justice data, in order to produce a fuller account of what we are faced with.

nullVerwoerd: Architect of Apartheid by Henry Kenney
Jonathan Ball

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr Hendrik Verwoerd by Dimitri Tsafendas.

Originally released in 1980, Henry Kenney’s incisive study of the architect of apartheid and paragon of Afrikaner nationalism will be republished in 2016 to coincide with this significant moment in South Africa’s modern history.

The new edition contains an introduction by David Welsh, Emeritus Professor at Stellenbosch University, bringing it into the 21st century and updating it for a new generation.

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What should Zuma do on Thursday? Ferial Haffajee and Justice Malala make their SONA predictions at Times Talks

Justice Malala, Ferial Haffajee and Ray Hartley
Ragged GloryWhat If There Were No Whites In South Africa?We Have Now Begun Our Descent

President Jacob Zuma’s imminent State of the Nation Address was the focus of a Times Talks event with Ray Hartley, Ferial Haffajee and Justice Malala at Kingsmead College in Joburg last night.

Rand Daily Mail editor Hartley, who moderated the discussion, posed the question: “What should Zuma do on Thursday?”

Malala, political commentator and author of We Have Now Begun Our Descent: How To Stop South Africa Losing Its Way, said Zuma will need to tread carefully.

“I think the first thing he must do is show that he loves the ANC,” Malala said. “He has been a liability, a huge one, for the ANC, we’ve all said that before.

“I think he should step down. Will he step down? I don’t think he believes his work here is done. But he has surprised before …”

Justice Malala, Ferial Haffajee and Ray Hartley

Haffajee, City Press editor and author of What If There Were No Whites In South Africa?, said like last year she believes the event may be disrupted.

“Thursday is going to be the Finance Minister’s State of the Nation. I think a lot of work has gone into what they call a stabilisation package, that I think will be at the centre of the State of the Nation address.

“Julius Malema seems pretty intent on bringing up the firing of Nene, as he said at his press conference, and I think everything is pointing in the direction of them doing exactly what they did last year.

“The police are bringing in the Hawks, the crimes against the state unit, and public order police officers are being shipped in or flown in for the State of the Nation Address, so perhaps it’s going to be a repeat of last year with even more strongarm tactics. As a South African I pray not.”

Also read:


* * * * *

Jennifer Malec (@projectjennifer) tweeted live from the event:

Times Talks is a series of in-depth conversations around big ideas. Keep an eye on the Sunday Times and Books LIVE for future events.

Book details

Photos: Raymond Preston

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The EFF will double its support – Ferial Haffajee and Justice Malala at the State of the Nation Times Talks event

Justice Malala, Ferial Haffajee and Ray Hartley
Ragged GloryWhat If There Were No Whites In South Africa?We Have Now Begun Our Descent


Ray Hartley moderated a Times Talks event with Ferial Haffajee and Justice Malala at Kingsmead College in Joburg last night, on the theme “The State of the Nation”.

Hartley put forward that Julius Malema has emerged the big winner after the Nkandla developments of the past week, with President Jacob Zuma agreeing to pay back at least part of the money.

“It was the EFF that brought the case, the DA joined them,” Hartley said, “the EFF initiated the pay back the money stunt, and they have now been vindicated, with the reversal Zuma made.

“Now they are bringing the next big issue – the Guptas and the patronage of the ANC elite – onto the agenda in a very powerful way, and they seem to have the momentum, a political savvy, the social media take.

“Can they turn that into votes in the local government election? Are their supporters registered? Are they going to gain something?”

Both Haffajee and Malala said they believe the EFF is in a very powerful position, which they should be able to strengthen in the upcoming local government elections.

Justice Malala, Ferial Haffajee and Ray Hartley


Is Julius Malema good for us, or is he dangerous?

An audience member asked, “Is Julius Malema good for us, or is he dangerous?”

Haffajee responded: “As an MP, Julius Malema has been fantastic news for us. As a president, I would be more worried, because I do think he has demagogic tendencies.

“I think that the other day, with his completely untamed rhetoric trying to push out the New Age and ANN7 journalists, was a pretty bone-chilling moment, and I’ve seen him deliver quite a few of those.

“On the other hand, as an editor who’s covered him quite closely for eight years now, there’s definitely been an evolution of spirit, of showing himself to have an ability to learn, to be a fine politician, and I think he set the agenda last year.”

Haffajee said she believes Malema deserves a lot of credit for popularising the anti-corruption fight, adding: “Let’s see if that path of maturity, the belief in clean governance continues.

“Once the EFF win its first two councils, or maybe its first province, we’ll have something to judge its governance by.”

Despite some troubling moments, Haffajee said she was impressed with what she saw of EFF leadership at the press conference.

“The work that the EFF young people have been doing was obvious to see. Julius Malema, Floyd Shivambu, etc, have been coached at a high level. They’ve obviously been reading a lot and they are very different from the corruptible young people we used to cover when they were doing all their shenanigans in Limpopo.

“I think if the local government election was held tomorrow, they would easily double their support, because they’ve become the effective official opposition.”

Haffajee says she was surprised when, in an interview the same day, Malema compared himself to Helen Suzman, with respect to the power that one person has and the power that a group of people – such as the EFF – consequently have.

“He clearly had a vision in sight of how they are going to get to 2019, and then to the election thereafter.”

But the conversation is also not just about what the EFF are doing right but about what the DA is doing wrong …”

Malala concurred, and stressed that he believes the EFF and Malema’s main strength is their relationship with the youth, a weak area for more “traditional” parties like the ANC and DA.

“With youth unemployment between 52 and 57 percent, if young people can be pushed to register to vote, that vote would belong to the EFF,” Malala said.

“In Gauteng in particular, the EFF is getting into communities where ANC councillors are weak, and I think it’s going to surprise a lot.

“I think the EFF is going to do much better in these local government elections than many people contend. I think they could go from a six percent to a 12 percent.

“But the conversation is also not just about what the EFF are doing right but about what the DA is doing wrong …”

Malala says he believes the DA is being disrupted, and that the local government elections will be key for the party.

“If their percentage doesn’t go from 22 to 30 percent, I think there’s going to be a leadership challenge in the DA.”

* * * * *

Jennifer Malec (@projectjennifer) tweeted live from the event:

Times Talks is a series of in-depth conversations around big ideas. Keep an eye on the Sunday Times and Books LIVE for future events.

Book details

Photos: Raymond Preston

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Jonathan Silver reviews South Africa’s Insurgent Citizens by Julian Brown

South Africa's Insurgent Citizens: On Dissent and the Possibility of PoliticsVerdict: carrot

The book is a useful addition just for showing how protests and dissent on the streets are policed and manage to hinder the growth of emancipatory politics. However, Brown doesn’t just stop with these powerful accounts of street based forms of protest and contestation. Instead, the author draws the reader into the variety of ways in which communities, activists and civil society have found new, insurgent ways of challenging the existing order and of enacting the political.

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Thabo Mbeki tackles his controversial ‘trust me on Selebi’ statement – a decade on

My Second InitiationTo Catch A CopRagged GloryThe African Renaissance and the Afro-Arab Spring

Thabo Mbeki and the Battle for the Soul of the ANCThabo MbekiFit to Govern


We never intervened to block the investigation‚ arrest and prosecution of the late National Commissioner of SAPS‚ Jackie Selebi

- former president Thabo Mbeki

President Thabo Mbeki told religious leaders in November 2006 that they should trust him on then National Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi‚ and that he had no grounds to suspend him.

This was despite a public outcry and after the religious leaders had suggested an inquiry into the relationship between Selebi and underworld tycoon Glenn Agliotti.

Mbeki also suspended the then national prosecutions boss Vusi Pikoli‚ who had wanted to execute search warrants on Selebi.

Agliotti was convicted of drug dealing and later turned State’s evidence against in Selebi’s corruption trial. Selebi was convicted of accepting bribes worth R166‚000 from Agliotti in exchange for showing him top secret police reports. In 2010‚ Selebi‚ also a president of Interpol‚ was sentenced to 15 years which was later converted to medical parole. He died in January 2015.

Almost a decade after his “trust me on Selebi” statement‚ Mbeki tackles this controversial saga in his latest missive to the nation‚ issued on Monday 8 February 2016.

Full statement: Issued by the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute (TMALI)

By Thabo Mbeki
February 8‚ 2016

For many years now‚ some at home and abroad have propagated the view that during the period I was President of the Republic‚ I abused my power especially to compromise the proper functioning of our criminal justice system‚ with the objective to advance particular political objectives.

Specifically the charges have been made that I intervened with the relevant state organs in one instance to prohibit the prosecution of the late former National Commissioner of Police‚ Jackie Selebi‚ and in another to frustrate the political aspirations of President Jacob Zuma.

At some point‚ possibly in 2006‚ the then Scorpions‚ the Directorate of Special Operations (DSO)‚ decided to carry out some investigations into the South African Police Service (SAPS) arising from the murder of the former businessman‚ Mr Brett Kebble.

Again at some point during these investigations‚ the then National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP)‚ Adv Vusi Pikoli‚ and the Head of the Scorpions‚ Adv Leonard McCarthy‚ informed me about their investigations. They reported that they were not receiving any cooperation from the SAPS in terms of accessing documents in the possession of the latter.

In this context it is necessary to explain that by this time the relations between the NPA/NDPP/DSO and the SAPS had to all intents and purposes broken down‚ with these institutions treating one another as deadly enemies.

Naturally‚ despite this reality‚ I viewed it as my obligation as Head of State and Government to support and assist all state organs properly to discharge their Constitutional and Statutory responsibilities.

Accordingly I informed Advocates Pikoli and McCarthy that I would intervene with National Commissioner Selebi to ensure that the SAPS did not obstruct the NDPP and the DSO in their work.

One result of this undertaking was that I convened a meeting at the offices of the SAPS Crime Intelligence Division. Present at the meeting were National Commissioner Selebi‚ Head of SAPS Crime Intelligence‚ Commissioner Ray Lalla‚ NDPP Pikoli‚ DSO Head McCarthy‚ the Presidency DG‚ Rev Frank Chikane‚ and myself.

Having discussed the urgent matter which had been raised by the DSO‚ it was agreed that the latter could send its officers to examine the Crime Intelligence files at Crime Intelligence Headquarters‚ without taking these files out of the building or photocopying them.

Everybody understood the need to proceed in this manner‚ which was necessitated by the sensitive and confidential nature of these files‚ which included the names of the agents and sources of Crime Intelligence.

More generally‚ it was also agreed that thenceforth the SAPS would cooperate with the NDPP and the DSO in their investigations.

At my suggestion‚ it was accepted that in the event that further problems arose in this regard‚ either or both parties would contact DG Chikane who would help to resolve any dispute‚ or‚ failing which‚ he would refer the matter to the President.

During September 2007 DG Chikane and I met NDPP Pikoli at his request. He informed us that he had secured Warrants to conduct search and seizure operations at the SAPS Headquarters and National Commissioner Selebi’s home‚ and to charge and arrest the National Commissioner.

This information about the securing of Warrants took both DG Chikane and I by surprise.

We informed NDPP Pikoli that‚ as he knew‚ he had no need for such Warrants as I‚ as President‚ remained ready to assist the NDPP/DSO with regard to the SAPS‚ as we had already done.

We argued with NDPP Pikoli that given the deeply poisoned relations between the NDPP/DSO and the SAPS‚ any attempt to execute the Warrants would inevitably result in a violent‚ armed conflict between his DSO search and arrest party and the SAPS.

He conceded that this was possible‚ reminding us that indeed such a violent conflict nearly broke out when his DSO officers had earlier sought to search Jacob Zuma’s house at his residence in Forest Town in Johannesburg.

Nevertheless and despite this concession‚ he insisted that as the NDPP‚ he had a legal right to conduct the search and seizure and arrest operations for which he had legal Warrants‚ and would do this in a week’s time.

We pointed out that any shooting war as would almost inevitably occur between the State organs the DSO and the SAPS would present the country with a very serious threat to its national security.

I also tried to convince Adv Pikoli to understand that it was my absolute responsibility as President of the Republic to take all necessary measures to avoid this eventuality.

I therefore proposed to NDPP Pikoli that he should carry out his search and seizure and arrest operations after two‚ rather than one week‚ as well as abandon his reliance on the use of unnecessary and provocative Warrants.

The two weeks would give me time to interact with National Commissioner Selebi and the SAPS leadership‚ as well as take other such steps as would ensure that the NDPP/DSO discharged their own tasks without plunging the country into a very serious national security crisis.

The work I would do would ensure the full cooperation of the National Commissioner and the SAPS‚ with no need for any Warrants to be served on them. I must also add that on that day‚ I was due to leave the country for the United States to attend the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly and would therefore be absent from South Africa for at least half of that week.

NDPP Pikoli resolutely rejected this proposal and refused all persuasion‚ insisting that he had a legal right and duty to execute the Warrants in the one week he had indicated.

I then informed NDPP Pikoli that‚ as President‚ I had my own solemn duty to help guarantee the country’s national security‚ while doing everything possible to assist the NDPP/DSO to carry out their legal duties‚ including the arrest and prosecution of the SAPS National Commissioner as they had deemed this to be required and merited.

After a lengthy discussion‚ I therefore told Adv Pikoli that given the fact of his absolute refusal to postpone by just one more week the actions he intended to take against the National Commissioner and the SAPS‚ the only recourse I had to stop him from acting in a manner that would surely threaten national security was to suspend him from his post as NDPP.

As we were meeting at Mahlamba Ndlopfu‚ I then left Adv Pikoli with Rev Chikane in the room where we were meeting and went to my office in the house‚ prepared and signed my letter suspending NDPP Pikoli and gave it to him there and then.

Interestingly‚ he said that he was relieved as the suspension had ‘taken a great load off his shoulders’.

Despite the pain of all these proceedings‚ we parted in the middle of the night with no evident bad feelings among us.

When Adv Mokotedi Mpshe took over as Acting NDPP‚ he did not adopt the position of his predecessor of insisting on serving the Warrants within one week.

We therefore carried out the necessary processes we had offered to Adv Pikoli and engaged National Commissioner Selebi and the SAPS leadership.

Consequently the NDPP/DSO carried out their work without any hindrance‚ and with no threat to national security. This included the arrest and prosecution of National Commissioner Selebi.

During the discussions with Adv Pikoli at Mahlamba Ndlopfu we had sharply disagreed with him about his decision to enter into plea bargains with people who had been involved in the murder of Brett Kebble.

In this regard we argued‚ in vain‚ that the NPA should prosecute these in the same way as it intended to prosecute the National Commissioner. This matter of plea bargains and their timing was linked to Adv Pikoli’s insistence to act on his Warrants in one week.

According to the plea bargains‚ the NPA absolved from prosecution the confessed Brett Kebble murderers‚ Mikey Schultz‚ Nigel McGurk and Kappie Smith‚ turning them into State witnesses against Glenn Agliotti.

The NPA also made a deal with the drug trafficker‚ Agliotti‚ which conditionally indemnified him from prosecution on charges including corruption‚ money laundering‚ racketeering and defeating the ends of justice‚ if he testified “frankly and honestly” against National Commissioner Selebi.

In his book‚ “My Second Initiation”‚ Adv Pikoli says: “I accept that the greatest criticism of my tenure is that I allowed Kebble’s killers to go free‚ but what could possibly be worse than a National Police Commissioner who is a criminal himself: guilty of corruption and of protecting criminals? We would never have been able to solve the Kebble murder were it not for those deals… I don’t think it’s fair to say we ‘prioritised’ the Selebi case over that of the Kebble murder… We never envisaged that Glenn Agliotti would walk free. We also intended to prosecute Agliotti‚ along with John Stratton‚ and we believed both would have stood trial together for the death of Kebble.”

However‚ long after National Commissioner Selebi had been convicted‚ Glenn Agliotti did walk free‚ and John Stratton lives in Australia.

After the Kebble murder charges against him were withdrawn‚ Agliotti publicly invited the NPA to prosecute him for having “corrupted” National Commissioner Selebi‚ and said‚ “I don’t believe he (Selebi) was handled in the right manner. There was a conspiracy. It was an absolute travesty of justice.”

The NPA itself announced that it would conduct its own internal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the arrest‚ prosecution and conviction of the late National Commissioner Selebi. The NPA has as yet made no announcement about the outcome of this internal investigation.

After Adv Pikoli’s suspension‚ and as prescribed by the law‚ we instituted a Commission of Enquiry to determine whether Adv Pikoli was ‘fit and proper’ to occupy the position of NDPP. We appointed the former Speaker of the National Assembly‚ Ms Frene Ginwala‚ to serve as the Commissioner.

In her Report Commissioner Ginwala made many important observations relevant to various matters raised in this article.

Among others she said:
“Since he was dealing with the impending prosecution of a state official as senior as the National Commissioner of Police‚ Adv Pikoli was obliged to keep the Minister (of Justice) informed at all times in order to enable her to exercise her final responsibility‚ and also to report to the President and to Cabinet on a matter that could impact on national security. This duty would specifically include informing the Minister prior to applying for warrants of arrest and search and seizure against the National Commissioner of Police. Adv Pikoli failed in his duty to keep the Minister informed.”

Further she stated:
“I did not find any substance in Adv Pikoli’s assertion that the reason for his suspension was to stop the prosecution of the National Commissioner of Police. Adv Pikoli confirms in his evidence that he received assistance from the Presidency and the Minister in his investigation of the National Commissioner of Police‚ and that there had not been any earlier attempts to stop him proceeding.”

She also said:
“Even more disturbing was Adv Pikoli’s response to the question on whether he would have acquiesced to the request if the President had insisted on a two week delay.

“Adv. Pikoli said: “I am saying I am very reluctant to answer this question‚ but if I have to answer it‚ I must say that perhaps I might have defied the President but I was just hoping that such a thing would never happen.”

“This is most startling‚ particularly if he would have still been in a position to execute the warrants after the two weeks.”

Again basing herself on evidence presented to the Commission‚ Ms Ginwala also stated that:
“(Adv Pikoli) did not take seriously the President’s concerns about the mood of the SAPS and their possible reaction to the arrest of the National Commissioner; and even challenged the President’s assessment of the time he would require to manage the situation… Adv Pikoli did not appreciate that the President would need to obtain comprehensive assessments of the possible adverse reaction by members of SAPS and the potential threat to the stability of the country‚ as well as to determine what measures needed to be put in place to contain the situation…Adv Pikoli also did not give due consideration to the actions the President might need to take in order to defuse a potential security crisis and instability and to preserve the country’s international reputation.”

“The Head of State is inevitably privy to information that is not available to others‚ and it was incumbent on Adv Pikoli to respect the President’s assessment of the time that would be necessary; the more so as Adv Pikoli admitted that the request did not undermine his prosecutorial independence in any way….
“His (Adv Pikoli’s) judgment that the two weeks delay would have compromised the matters that were pending is not supported‚ even by the historical events. Those matters were ultimately addressed in court in November 2007 well beyond the two weeks period the President had requested…Had these facts been presented as the reason for the suspension‚ when the conduct would have held a real risk of undermining national security‚ I would not have hesitated to find the reason to be legitimate.”

Contrary to the blatantly false allegation that was made and has been sustained for many years‚ we never intervened to block the investigation‚ arrest and prosecution of the late National Commissioner of SAPS‚ Jackie Selebi. Instead we acted at all times to assist the NPA and the DSO to do their work‚ as determined and defined solely by them.

For those who have argued otherwise‚ with no facts to substantiate their positions‚ the real and fundamental matter at issue was not about the legitimate functioning of the criminal justice system‚ protected from illegal interference and abuse of power by the President‚ with the intension to shield the then National Commissioner Selebi from arrest and prosecution.

The real matter was about creating a particular political climate intended to discredit the Government of the day.

The purpose of this was to gain advantage by promoting the particular partisan political objective of convincing the people of South Africa that the President and the Government were determined to subvert our Constitution and democracy‚ with the aim to advance the interests of the ANC rather than those of the country and our people as a whole.

Source: TMG Digital

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Greg Mills reviews Power Politics in Zimbabwe by Michael Bratton

Power Politics in ZimbabweVerdict: carrot

As Bratton’s fine book documents, Mugabe’s grip on power relies on a patronage-ridden political economy, the efficient authoritarianism of his ruling party, a weak and confused opposition, and a conspiracy of silence among regional leaders, especially in South Africa, who have long refused to denounce Mugabe.

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‘We’re not scared of Zuma’ – Julius Malema rejects Nkandla settlement

The Coming RevolutionStill an Inconvenient YouthThe World According to Julius Malema

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema has rejected President Jacob Zuma’s settlement offer over taxpayer cash spent on his Nkandla homestead.

“He thinks he can play with us …” Malema told a news briefing in Johannesburg.

“We’re not going to accept any settlement that doesn’t reaffirm the powers of Public Protector‚ that remedial actions are binding.”

Malema said since Zuma had flouted the office of the Public Protector Thuli Madonsela and her powers‚ the institution was no longer respected as before.

“We can’t have a situation where Zuma’s drum majorettes in parliament insult the Public Protector.

“We can’t accept that the Public Protector can be told that she is not God and her remedial actions aren’t binding.”

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Malema lambasted his former political chief‚ saying Zuma was in breach of his office as he did not protect the public purse.

“We’re here because the corrupt President of SA has made an admission that he is corrupt and that he will pay back the money.

“They made a proposed settlement and they expect us to respond.

“In his typical way of trying to control everything and influence judges‚ he took a copy to court. Zuma being Zuma writes to us and copies judges so he can influence them. He wants them to see him as a reasonable man. The judges responded saying that they’re not interested‚ because that is the matter between the parties and won’t get involved.”

South Africa is not going to be another failed African state under the watch of the EFF‚ he proclaimed.

“We’re not scared of anyone. We’re not scared of Zuma and Parliament …

“This man is collapsing the country. We’re not scared of being beaten up. We’re prepared to die for protection of the Constitution.”

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Bill Nasson reviews How South Africa Works by Greg Mills and Jeffrey Herbst

How South Africa Works: And Must Do BetterVerdict: carrot

How South Africa Works And Must Do Better is a commendable response to that cry, despite – or perhaps, even because of – its slightly school report-card title. The topics which it covers are large and important, like governance, agriculture, mining, and manufacturing. It is impressively-organised, with crisp, easily-understandable charts and other graphics and well-signposted chapters to guide readers through a dense web of material. It is written in an admirably lucid style, and is largely free of the indigestible jargon which bedevils so much current affairs commentary.

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South African non-fiction dominates the Sunday Times Bestseller List for January 2016

The Sunday Times monthly bestseller list for January has been released, revealing South Africa’s top selling fiction and non-fiction books.



The information on the list comes from SAPnet/Nielsen bookseller data and publisher data.

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Precious Gifts1. Precious Gifts by Danielle Steele
EAN: 9780593069035
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Cross Justice2. Cross Justice by James Patterson
EAN: 9781780892672
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An Empty Coast3. An Empty Coast by Tony Park
EAN: 9781770104693
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After You4. After You by Jojo Moyes
EAN: 9780718177010
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Rogue Lawyer5. Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham
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EAN: 9781473622876
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How Long Will South Africa Survive?1. How Long Will South Africa Survive?: The Looming Crisis by RW Johnson
EAN: 9781868426348
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What If There Were No Whites In South Africa?2. What If There Were No Whites In South Africa? by Ferial Haffajee
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EAN: 9781770104402
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We Have Now Begun Our Descent3. We Have Now Begun Our Descent: How To Stop South Africa Losing Its Way by Justice Malala
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EAN: 9781868426799
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Jan Smuts4. Jan Smuts: Unafraid of Greatness by Richard Steyn
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EAN: 9781868426942
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Recce5. Recce by Koos Stadler
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EAN: 9780624069447
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Thabo Mbeki rails against his ‘deadly image of being aloof’

Ragged GloryThe African Renaissance and the Afro-Arab SpringThabo Mbeki and the Battle for the Soul of the ANCThabo MbekiFit to Govern

Former president Thabo Mbeki has released another extraordinary statement through his Facebook page.

In the piece, Mbeki addresses his alleged “aloofness”, with references to numerous uses of the word to describe him in various newspaper articles around the world over the years.

However, Mbeki contends: “… I have never been able to answer the question – from whom and what was I ‘aloof’?”

Read the article:

* * * * *

By Thabo Mbeki
February 1, 2016

In 2001, the ANC National Working Committee (NWC), of which I was a member, issued the seminal document, “Through the eye of a needle? Choosing the best cadres to lead transformation.” [‘The eye of the needle’.]

Among others, this document specifies the critical requirement that, “A leader should constantly seek to improve his capacity to serve the people; he should strive to be in touch with the people all the time, listen to their views and learn from them. He should be accessible and flexible; and not arrogate to himself the status of being the source of all wisdom.”

Six years after this document was issued, the ANC held its elective 52nd National Conference in Polokwane. At this Conference I lost the contest for the position of President of the ANC, with the delegates electing Comrade Jacob Zuma as President.

Before the Conference there had been much public/media discussion about the possible outcome and meaning of this election, which continued long afterwards, to date.

Some of this discussion advanced the proposition that one of the reasons I would and did lose the election was that I was ‘aloof’, a leadership defect which had allegedly alienated the majority of the ANC members, and therefore the delegates at the Conference.
If this charge of being ‘aloof’ was correct, this meant that even as I was President of the ANC, with the obvious obligation to serve as a role model, I had disrespected the directive contained in ‘The eye of the needle’ to “strive to be in touch with the people all the time, listen to their views and learn from them … (to) be accessible and flexible; and not arrogate to (oneself) the status of being the source of all wisdom.”

The reason the ‘Eye of the needle’ raised this matter was that it had been discussed by the ANC leadership in both the NEC and the NWC, as well as in our National Conferences and the National General Councils.

One of the observations that had been made in these discussions was that because so many of the ANC leaders were involved in demanding Government work at National, Provincial and Local levels, the ANC leadership as a whole was losing direct and immediate contact with the people and that this had to be corrected.

However, in my specific case, the charge of being ‘aloof’ rested on the assertion that whether intentionally or not, my very style of leadership meant that I deliberately chose to be ‘not in touch with the people’, (and the membership of the ANC), obviously having ‘arrogated to myself the status of being the source of all wisdom.’

Some elected constantly to propagate this notion as an established and self-evident truth which did not even require that any evidence should be produced to substantiate this ‘truth’.

Thus in September 2009, Blade Nzimande, General Secretary of the SACP, was quoted by the Mail and Guardian as having said that “there is an almost complete national consensus that Mbeki’s aloof and intolerant personality was a disaster … Thankfully we are now once more in a situation in which national dialogue and debate are possible.”

Earlier still, in September 2008, the UK Financial Times had carried a report from its correspondent in South Africa, Alec Russell, entitled “Thabo Mbeki: Aloof leader who fell from grace”. Russell went on to say:

“It was clear even then (when he succeeded President Mandela) that Mr Mbeki was a curious politician. He made clear he would never be a crowd pleaser … His undoing, friends and enemies agree, was his aloofness.”

Another September 2008 article in the US Chicago Tribune, entitled “South Africa’s Mbeki aloof to the end”, said, “Even to the bitter end, Thabo Mbeki stayed true to his aloof self. ‘He was never much good at connecting with his own people,’ said Raenette Taljaard, the director of the Helen Suzman Foundation, a pro-democracy think tank in Johannesburg.”

In June 2013, the Daily Maverick published an article by Ranjeni Munusamy entitled “Zuma, Mbeki, and the shifting sands of public perception”, in which she wrote:

“Once upon a time, people detested their president (Thabo Mbeki), believing he was too aloof, too disconnected, too scholarly, too proud to admit his mistakes and impervious of criticism.”

In January 2014, the Financial Mail carried an article by Justice Malala in which he wrote; “Remember when people said all those nasty things about Thabo Mbeki – “aloof, educated, too much Shakespeare, old chap” …”

With regard to the ANC, the first point I would like to make is that (i) the National Office Bearers (NOBs) met at least every Monday, (ii) the NWC met at least every fortnight, and (iii) the NEC met at least every quarter. I regularly attended all these meetings as President of the ANC, never standing aloof from the ANC leadership.

Further, one of the decisions we took in the NWC to help ensure that we maintain closer contact with the ANC membership was to hold our meetings in the Provinces, spending two days in each Province.

We would divide the NWC members into small delegations, in which I participated, each of which would spend the first day in one of the Regions in the Province, to familiarise itself with the state of organisation at this lower level. On the second day the delegations would then report to the NWC as a whole, which thus gained a more detailed understanding of ANC affairs in the Province concerned.

Further, the participation of ANC Provincial Chairs and Secretaries and the Chairs and Secretaries of the Women’s and Youth Leagues in the NEC, meant that our national leadership was regularly informed of developments and views in the Provinces and the Leagues.

On various occasions the ANC National Office Bearers, the NWC or other NEC delegations would have to engage some of our Provinces to help find solutions to the then extant problems. The President of the ANC would be involved in these initiatives.

Even when, as President of the Republic, I ceased to be a Member of Parliament, I continued periodically to attend the meetings of the ANC Parliamentary Caucus.

At Government level, we instituted the “Presidential Izimbizo Process”. This resulted in our holding many meetings with both urban and rural local communities, in which as many people as possible spoke directly to the President to communicate whatever they considered important.

By the time I left Government we were very concerned about the security challenges posed by the increasingly enormous size of these local Izimbizo which derived from their popularity. Our concern arose from the fact that it was proving impossible to allow time for everybody who queued to speak actually to reach the microphones and address the President, which, we feared, might result in conflict.
Nevertheless we always took the necessary action to respond to what had been raised at these Izimbizo, covering all three spheres of Government.

To ensure that the National Government remained exposed to the thinking of our country’s broad leadership, we established a number of standing Presidential Working Groups, during all of which I, as President of the Republic, would lead a Ministerial groups which would engage the leadership delegation in each Working Group.

The Working Groups were made up of leaders in each of these areas, constituting (i) the women, (ii) the youth, (iii) the trade unions, (iv) big business, (v) black business, (vi) agriculture, (vii) the religious communities, and (viii) academia.

The relevant Ministries would then assume the responsibility to cooperate with the appointed representatives of each of these sectors to follow up on relevant matters that had been raised at these Presidential Working Group meetings.

It is also important to understand that, of course, in addition to the instances I have mentioned relating to the ANC and Government, there were also other countless instances during which I interacted with ANC members and structures and the South African population in general, at all times ready to listen and engage.

Thus I have never been able to answer the question – from whom and what was I ‘aloof’?

Shortly before our 2004 General Election, the 9 April 2004 edition of the UK newspaper, The Guardian, published an article by Rory Carroll which, among other things, said:

“In recent weeks (during the election campaign, Thabo Mbeki) … has reinvented his public persona by playing with children and dancing, an astonishing departure which has won rave reviews, but for a decade, as Nelson Mandela’s Deputy and then as President, he abhorred the common touch. Give him an opportunity to empathise with the poor and sick and he would retreat into technocratic jargon. Give him a baby and he would plop it into the nearest lap.”

Thus did Rory Carroll, years ahead of the 2007 ANC Polokwane Conference, provide a simple answer about what I would have to do to shed the deadly image of being ‘the aloof’, and thus win ANC elections and popular approval – display the common touch, play with children, dance, cry publicly for the poor and the sick, and kiss babies, all this in front of the television cameras!

But of greater significance in terms of the future of our country was neither an alleged aloofness nor what a British journalist thought. Much more relevant were the views expressed by a leading South African journalist, Ms Karima Brown, who clearly sought to convince all who would listen that – Mbeki must go!

As early as August 2006 she had written that my “sell-by date” was ‘stapled on (my) back’. She even thought that what might happen would be that I might face “the ignominy of an investigation … (being) the focus, or the centre, of a new criminal probe into the arms deal … Is it any wonder then that the smart (ANC) MPs are beginning to look at life beyond Mbeki? … The writing is on the wall.”

In November 2007 she went on to write, “In the hurly-burly of the ANC succession battle, the question still needs to be asked, let alone be answered, why it is that the ruling party is willing to countenance the perpetuation of Mbeki’s rule beyond its natural and constitutional end-date, all because of the false obsession of “legacy”.

“After all, with the “benefit” of the past eight years of Mbeki’s rule to look back on, it does not appear that the legacy – creditable macroeconomic management peppered with a dangerously pathological denialism – is worth preserving …

“It is a bitter irony of African politics that our leaders stay in office beyond their welcome, so that they may fix problems that are wholly of their own creation. Johnson diagnoses it perfectly (remember he gets to be right twice in a 24-hour cycle): “We are at a crossroads where the central possibility is the indefinite extension of one-man rule by a paranoiac. In a word, Mugabeism.” …

“It is of course nearly impossible to love Mbeki. Not in the way one can love Mandela, or even, for that matter, Zuma. “Let me have men about me that are fat, sleek-headed men, and such as sleep a’ night,” said Caesar to Mark Anthony. “Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look. He thinks too much. Such men are dangerous.”

Writing five years later in October 2012, Zweli Mkhize, the current Treasurer General of the ANC, commended Ms Karima Brown for her reporting ahead of that year’s Mangaung ANC National Conference and said:

“Very few journalists are confident to find a positive side of this very important conference of the ANC. Journalist Karima Brown seems to have been one of the few brave ones to buck the trend. Her recent article in the Sunday Independent about the trends in the ANC structures is correct but under the atmosphere, it swims against the dominant trend in most media.”

As Zweli Mkhize had correctly stated concerning Ms Brown’s reports about the 2012 ANC National Conference, history suggests that she was also very accurate in foreseeing that her wishes would be fulfilled at the 2007 ANC National Conference.

In this regard, she obviously had the correct understanding of the impact the sustained charge of aloofness, and other similar negative assessments of the then President of the ANC, would have on the delegates gathered at the 2007 Polokwane Conference.

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