Allister Sparks joined his first newspaper at age 17 and was pitched headlong into the vortex of South Africa's stormy politics. The Sword and the Pen is the story of how as a journalist he observed, chronicled and participated in his country's unfolding drama for more than 66 years, covering events from the premiership of DF Malan to the presidency of Jacob Zuma, witnessing at close range the rise and fall of apartheid and the rise and crisis of the new South Africa.
In trenchant prose, Sparks has written a remarkable account of both a life lived to its full 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.
It's 2020, and ex-President Jeremiah Gejeyishwebisa Muza has just been released from prison on medical parole, with a dangerously infected ingrown toenail. Now hes back home with his two remaining wives, a skinny dog, a rapidly dwindling entourage, and a fire pool to maintain. Plus the municipality is demanding he pays a vast outstanding rates bill. But Muza has plans - big ones - that include a memoir of alternative facts being ghostwritten by disgraced journo Matthew Stone. Will Stone meet his deadline, as his publisher, agent and drug dealer all breathe down his neck? Will Muza pay the money in time and succeed in his plans to conquer the world? Will his long-suffering parole officer stay one jump ahead of him? And which side is he limping on today?
This blistering contemporary South African satire has it all: tindering wives, recipes for chicken soup, and absolutely no sacred cows. Th perfect laugh-till-you-cry read.
Few countries in transition have managed to get a grip on their public finances as well as South Africa did after 1994. Now, just more than 20 years later, the nation's credibility and the democratic project lie in tatters as we teeter on the brink of a political and fiscal cliff.
Business confidence and investment have evaporated along with clean, accountable government, causing South Africa to be downgraded to junk status, crushing the country's growth potential and pushing it towards a debt trap.
How did we land up in this mess, and can we pullback from the brink?
Claire Bisseker, the award-winning economics editor of the Financial Mail, unpacks the crisis in this accessible and highly readable guide to what makes our economy tick.
Ronnie Kasrils's insights in A Simple Man into Jacob Zuma, both shocking and revelatory, are vividly illuminated through this story, from their shared history in the underground to Kasrils's time as minister if intelligence and his views on South Africa now. Our understanding of Zuma the struggle hero, now perceived as having sold his soul to the devil, becomes clearer through this narrative.
This fast-paced, thriller-style memoir outlines the tumultuous years that saw Mbeki's overthrow and replacement by Zuma, Nkandlagate, the growing militarisation of the police and the Marikana Massacre, the outrageous appointment of flunkies to high office, the "state capture" report and his relationship with the Guptas. We relive the Schabir Shaik corruption trial, Kasrils's relationship with Fezeka Kuzwayo (Khwezi), Zuma's rape trial accuser, the email and spy tapes saga, conspiracy and betrayal.
Over a decade after his presidency of South Africa, Nelson Mandela remains an inspirational figure to millions of people - both in his homeland and far beyond her borders. He is, without doubt, one of the most important figures in global history.
Mandela's opposition to apartheid and his 27-year incarceration at the hands of South Africa's white minority regime are familiar to most. In this utterly compelling book, eminent writer and journalist Anthony Sampson, who knew his subject since 1951, reveals the man behind the events that rocked a continent - and changed the world.
With unprecedented access to the former South African president - the letters he wrote in prison, his unpublished jail autobiography, extensive conversations, and family - Sampson depicts the realities of Mandela's private and public life, and the tragic tension between them.
Now updated with an Afterword by distinguished South African journalist John Battersby, Mandela is the ultimate biography of one of the twentieth century's greatest statesmen.
In August 1993, Fulbright scholar Amy Biehl was killed in Cape Town by a group of black youths incited by an upsurge in "anti-white" sloganeering. She died just a few metres away from Sindiwe Magona's house. One of the boys held responsible for the killing was her neighbour's son.
Mother to Mother takes the form of an epistle to Amy's Biehl's mother. Sindiwe Magona imagines how easily it might have been her own son caught up in the violence of that day - she writes about their lives in a colonised society that not only allowed, but also perpetuated violence against women and impoverished black South Africans.
The result is not an apology for murder, but an exquisitely written exploration of the lives of ordinary people during the apartheid years.
Political governance in South Africa continues to collapse. Scandals of corruption, evidence of nepotism, rampant maladministration in provinces, incompetence in public offices and a general decline in the quality of leadership are there for all to see.
In the view of Prince Mashele and Mzukisi Qobo, this state of affairs has its origins in the messiness and ongoing collapse of the African National Congress. As the helplessness deepens in our society, concerned citizens ask: "What will happen to South Africa?"
The Fall of the ANC Continues seeks to answer this question of the fate that awaits the country.
Bantu Stephen Biko's voice was silenced under a banning order in 1973, but in May 1976, in Pretoria, he gave several days of powerful testimony relating to the Black Consciousness Movement at the SASO/BPC trial of Saths Cooper, Muntu Myeza, Patrick "Terror" Lekota, Aubrey Mokoape, Nkwenkwe Nkomo, Pandelani Nefolovhodwe, Kaborone Sedibe, Zithulele Cindi and Strini Moodley.
This testimony was published in 1978 in the United States of America, but the book was immediately banned in South Africa - a ban only lifted in 1984 - with the result that it has not been previously published in Bioko;s home country.
The testimony of Steve Biko includes the perceptive and wide-ranging testimony given by Biko on the stand, together with an introduction and commentary on the trial by Milliard Arnold, an interview with Saths Cooper and an appendix covering the inquest into Biko's death. It is an invaluable addition to the publications commemorating the fortieth anniversary of Biko's death.
This is the story of comrade September, a member of the ANC and its military wing, MK, who was abducted from his hideout in Swaziland by an apartheid death squad in August 1986 and taken across the border to South Africa, where his interrogation and torture began. It was not long before September began telling his captors about his comrades in the ANC. In the process, September underwent changes that marked him for the rest of his life: from resister to collaborator, from insurgent to counterinsurgent, and, to his former comrades, from hero to traitor.
The book is about these changes and about the larger, neglected story of betrayal and collaboration in the struggle against apartheid. It seeks to understand why September made the choices he did - collaborating with his captors, turning against the ANC, and then hunting down his comrades - without excusing them. It looks beyond the black-and-white that still dominates South Africa's political canvas, to examine the grey zones in which South Africans - combatants alike - lived.
Faced with the 'total onslaught' by its enemies, in 1979, Apartheid South Africa established Vlakplaas (lit. "shallow farm"), a farm nestling in the hills outside Pretoria, as a secret operation under the arm of CI, a counter-terrorism division of the South African Police.
The first phase of operations, up until 1989, was aimed at fighting the enemy, the armed wings of the liberation movements. The second phase was fighting organized crime in which Vlakplaas itself seamlessly adopted the mantle of organized crime in the notorious downtown area of Johannesburg's Hillbrow. The final phase, the most destructive, was as the murky "Third Force" that destabilized the country in an orgy of violence in the run-up to its first democratic elections in 1994.
Operating within South Africa as well as beyond the country's borders, it will never been known how many victims can be attributed to the Vlakplaas agenda - with much of the execution taking place on the farm itself - but conservative figure of 1,000 murders and assassinations has been mooted.