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Books to Vote for History

Books to Vote for History
  • A Short History of South Africa

    A Short History of South Africa

    In A Short History of South Africa, Gail Nattrass, historian and educator, presents the reader with a brief, general account of South Africa's history, from the very beginning to the present day, from the first evidence of hominid existence, early settlement pre- and post-European arrival and the warfare through the 18th and 19th centuries that lead to the eventual establishment of modern South Africa. This readable and thorough account, illustrated with maps and photographs, is a culmination of a lifetime of researching and teaching the broad spectrum of South African history, collecting stories, taking students on tours around the country, and working with distinguished historians. Nattrass's passion for her subject shines through, whether she is elucidating the reader on early humans in the cradle of humankind, or the tumultuous twentieth-century processes that shaped the democracy that is South Africa today. A must for all those interested in South Africa, within the country and abroad.

    Approx 4 Business Days

    R 285.00

    4 Days Delivery
  • Legends


    We have a lot to be positive about in South Africa.            With all our problems, it’s easy to feel bleak. But hold those thoughts, because Legends might be just the tonic you need to drive off the gloom. This book tells the stories of a dozen remarkable people – some well known, others largely forgotten – who changed Mzansi for the better.            Most South Africans are proud of Nelson Mandela – and rightly so. His life was truly astounding, but he’s by no means the only person who should inspire us.            There’s King Moshoeshoe, whose humanity and diplomatic strategies put him head and shoulders above his contemporaries, both European and African. And John Fairbairn, who brought non-racial democracy to the Cape in 1854. Olive Schreiner was a bestselling international author who fought racism, corruption and chauvinism. And Gandhi spent twenty years here inventing a system of protest that would bring an Empire to its knees.            Legends also celebrates Eugène Marais’s startling contributions to literature and natural history (despite a lifelong morphine addiction); Sol Plaatje’s wit, intelligence and tenacity in the face of racial zealots; Cissie Gool’s lifetime fighting for justice and exposing bigots; and Sailor Malan’s battles against fascists in the skies of Europe and on the streets of South Africa.            Legends also celebrates Eugène Marais’s startling contributions to literature and natural history (despite a lifelong morphine addiction); Sol Plaatje’s wit, intelligence and tenacity in the face of racial zealots; Cissie Gool’s lifetime fighting for justice and exposing bigots; and Sailor Malan’s battles against fascists in the skies of Europe and on the streets of South Africa.            And then there’s Miriam Makeba, who began her life in prison and ended it as an international singing sensation; Steve Biko, who shifted the minds of an entire generation; and Thuli Madonsela (the book’s only living legend), who gracefully felled the most powerful man in the land.            Engagingly written and meticulously researched, Legends reminds South Africans that we have a helluva lot to be proud of.

    Matthew Blackman, Nick Dall ESTIMATED DELIVERY:
    Approx 4 Business Days

    R 350.00

    4 Days Delivery
  • The Plot to Save South Africa

    The Plot to Save South Africa

    Johannesburg. Easter weekend. 1993. Chris Hani, the charismatic ANC leader, is shot and killed outside his home by white supremacist Janusz Walus in an attempt to stop talks to transform South Africa into a multiracial democracy. The aim of the assassination is simple and chilling: to tip the country into all-out civil war. Twenty-two-year-old rookie journalist Justice Malala was one of the first people at the crime scene and he covered the growing chaos of the next nine days – the protests and police brutality, reprisal killings, arson and calls for paramilitary units to get combat-ready. On the 30th anniversary of Hani’s death, Malala revisits the unforgettable events of these nine days. Unspooling political history in the style of a thriller, he takes the reader into the thought processes and consequential actions of the key players – from Nelson Mandela and FW de Klerk to dangerous right-wingers such as Clive Derby-Lewis and prominent struggle leaders Cyril Ramaphosa, Bantu Holomisa and Tokyo Sexwale. Through vivid archival research and revealing original interviews, Malala digs into questions that were never fully answered amid the tumult of the time: how influential were far-right elements within the government in inciting and even planning the assassination? And as the time bomb ticked, how did Mandela, De Klerk and their close confidants – despite provocation and their own fears – work together to choose the path of peace?

    Justice Malala ESTIMATED DELIVERY:
    Approx 4 Business Days

    R 340.00

    4 Days Delivery
  • History of South Africa

    History of South Africa

    Winner of the 2022 Humanities and Social Sciences Award for Best Non-Fiction Monograph South Africa was born in war, its growth has been marked by crises and ruptures, and it once again stands on a precipice.            History of South Africa explores the country’s tumultuous journey from the aftermath of the Second Anglo-Boer War to the COVID-19 pandemic. Drawing on never-before-published documentary evidence – including diaries, letters, eyewitness testimony and diplomatic reports – the book follows the South African people through the battles, elections, repression, resistance, strikes, insurrections, massacres, economic crashes and health crises that have shaped the nation’s character.            Tracking South Africa’s path from colony to Union and from apartheid to democracy, History of South Africa documents the influence of key figures including Pixley Seme, Jan Smuts, Lilian Ngoyi, H.F. Verwoerd, Nelson Mandela, Steve Biko, P.W. Botha, Thabo Mbeki, Jacob Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa. The book gives detailed accounts of definitive events such as the 1922 Rand Revolt, the Defiance Campaign, Sharpeville, the Soweto uprising and the Marikana massacre. Looking beyond the country’s borders, it sheds light on the role of people such as Mohandas Gandhi, Winston Churchill, Fidel Castro and Margaret Thatcher, and unpacks military conflicts such as the World Wars, the armed struggle and the Border War. The book explores the transition to democracy and traces the phases of ANC rule, from the Rainbow Nation to transformation, state capture to ‘New Dawn’. It examines the divisive and unifying role of sport, the ups and downs of the economy, and the impact of pandemics from the Spanish flu to AIDS and COVID-19.            With South Africa currently facing a crisis as severe as any in its history, the book shows that these challenges are neither unprecedented nor insurmountable, and that there are principles to be found in history that may lead us safely into the future.

    Approx 4 Business Days

    R 465.00

    4 Days Delivery
  • Countdown To Socialism

    Countdown To Socialism

    The National Democratic Revolution (NDR) is the policy blueprint of the governing ANC/SACP alliance, who have been implementing it in different spheres for more than two decades. It is intended to provide ‘the most direct route’ to a socialist South Africa and is the key to understanding events in the country since the 1994 transition. Although many important steps towards Expropriation without Compensation and other NDR objectives have already been taken or are well in train, most South Africans have never been informed about the NDR and its destructive goals. With growth stalling, joblessness at crisis levels, and governance unravelling, people cannot fathom why the ANC does not implement meaningful reforms. Understand the NDR, however, and its underlying priorities become apparent. If South Africa’s mainly capitalist economy was thriving, with high growth, low unemployment, and rising living standards, the ANC could not justify expanding state ownership or control. By contrast, with joblessness and destitution at unprecedented levels, the call for state provision and control becomes far more compelling – and even patently harmful policies such as Expropriation without Compensation seem justifiable. Written in clear and simple language, this book provides an indispensable primer on the NDR and its crucial role in the countdown to socialism in South Africa.

    Anthea Jeffery ESTIMATED DELIVERY:
    Approx 4 Business Days

    R 360.00

    4 Days Delivery
  • South Africa: The present as history

    South Africa: The present as history

    The world wanted South Africa’s true, liberated history – and the writing of it – to begin in 1994, but deep contradictions have quickly bubbled to the surface, revealing a society gripped in turmoil. The results of all this have been, of course, paradoxical: a series of elections since 1994 seemed to confirm the ANC’s hold, both popular and legitimate, on power. Yet, simultaneously, South Africa has found itself with one of the world’s highest rates of protest and dissent, expressed both in the workplace and on township streets, in universities and technikons (higher education institutions of technology), clinics and central city squares. This is a paradox that requires explanation – underscored most recently by the South African Police Service’s cold-blooded shooting of 34 striking Lonmin miners at Marikana on 16 August 2012. For Marikana stands not only as a telling sign of the precise character of the post- apartheid state but also as an index of the many deep complexities that the student of South Africa must continue to ponder. At the same time, the fact of dissent so graphically expressed is also a source of hope for those who sense that something better than the semi-liberation that the ANC has presided over in its country must not be long delayed. We will have to examine the roots of such hope – both within the ANC itself and within the broader society of South Africa – before determining the future of South Africa.

    Approx 5 - 9 Business Days

    R 258.00

  • Blame Me on History

    Blame Me on History

    Feeling an exile in the country of his birth, the talented journalist and leading black intellectual Bloke Modisane left South Africa in 1959. It was shortly after the apartheid government had bulldozed Sophiatown, the township of his childhood. His biting indictment of apartheid, Blame Me on History, was published in 1963 – and banned shortly afterwards. Modisane offers a harrowing account of the degradation and oppression faced daily by black South Africans. His penetrating observations and insightful commentary paint a vivid picture of what it meant to be black in apartheid South Africa. At the same time, his evocative writing transports the reader back to a time when Sophiatown still teemed with life. This 60th-anniversary edition of Modisane’s autobiography serves as an example of passionate resistance to the scourge of racial discrimination in our country, and is a reminder not to forget our recent past.

    William Bloke Modisane ESTIMATED DELIVERY:
    Approx 4 Business Days

    R 290.00

    4 Days Delivery
  • Winnie & Nelson

    Winnie & Nelson

    ‘Unlikely to be superseded in a long time.’ – JM Coetzee One of the most celebrated political leaders of our time, Nelson Mandela has been written about by many biographers and historians. But in one crucial area, his life remains largely untold: his marriage to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. During his years in prison, Nelson grew ever more in love with an idealised version of his wife, courting her in his letters as if they were young lovers frozen in time. But Winnie, every bit his political equal, found herself increasingly estranged from her jailed husband’s politics. Behind his back, she was trying to orchestrate an armed seizure of power, a path he feared would lead to an endless war. Jonny Steinberg tells the tale of this unique marriage – its longings, its obsessions, its deceits – making South African history a page-turning political biography. Winnie and Nelson is a modern epic in which trauma doesn’t affect just the couple at its centre, but an entire nation. It is also a Shakespearean drama in which bonds of love and commitment mingle with timeless questions of revolution, such as whether to seek retribution or a negotiated peace. Steinberg reveals, with power and tender emotional insight, how far these forever-entwined leaders would go for each other and where they drew the line. For in the end, both knew theirs was not simply a marriage, but a struggle to define anti-apartheid policy itself.

    Jonny Steinberg ESTIMATED DELIVERY:
    Approx 4 Business Days

    R 370.00

    4 Days Delivery
  • Thabo Mbeki

    Thabo Mbeki

    Hailed in the Times Literary Supplement as 'probably the finest piece of non-fiction to come out of South Africa since the end of apartheid', The Dream Deferred is back in print and updated with a brilliant new epilogue. The prosperous Mbeki clan lost everything to apartheid. Yet the family saw its favourite son, Thabo, rise to become president of South Africa in 1999. A decade later, Mbeki was ousted by his own party and his legacy is bitterly contested - particularly over his handling of the AIDS epidemic and the crisis in Zimbabwe. Through the story of the Mbeki family, award-wining journalist Mark Gevisser tells the gripping tale of the last tumultuous century of South Africa life, following the family's path to make sense of the liberation struggle and the future that South Africa has inherited. At the centre of the story is Mbeki, a visionary yet tragic figure who led South Africa to freedom but was not able to overcome the difficulties of his own dislocated life. It is 15 years since Mbeki was unceremoniously dumped by the ANC, giving rise to the wasted years under Jacob Zuma. With the benefit of hindsight, and as Mbeki reaches the age of 80, Gevisser examines the legacy of the man who succeeded Mandela. '...essential reading for anyone intrigued by South Africa's complex philosopher-king.' - The Economist

    Approx 4 Business Days

    R 360.00

    4 Days Delivery
  • Future Tense

    Future Tense

    In his riveting new book, Future Tense, Tony Leon captures and analyses recent South African history, with a focus on the squandered and corrupted years of the past decade. With unique access and penetrating insight, Leon presents a portrait of today's South Africa and prospects for its future, based on his political involvement over thirty years with the key power players: Cyril Ramaphosa, Jacob Zuma, Thabo Mbeki, Nelson Mandela and FW de Klerk. His close-up and personal view of these presidents and their history-making, and many encounters in the wider world, adds vivid colour of a country and planet in upheaval. Written during the first coronavirus lockdown, Future Tense examines the surge of the disease and the response, both of which have crashed the economy and its future prospects. As the founding leader of the Democratic Alliance, Leon also provides an insider view for the first time of the power struggles within that party, which saw the exit of its first black leader in 2019. There is every reason to fear for the future of South Africa but, as Leon argues, 'the hope for a better country remains an improbable, but not an impossible, dream'.

    Approx 4 Business Days

    R 325.00

    4 Days Delivery
  • Bantu Holomisa

    Bantu Holomisa

    Bantu Holomisa is one of South Africa’s most respected and popular political figures. Born in the Transkei in 1955, he attended an elite school for the sons of chiefs and headmen. While other men his age were joining Umkhonto weSizwe, Holomisa enrolled in the Transkeian Defence Force and rose rapidly through the ranks. As head of the Transkeian Defence Force, Holomisa led successive coups against the homeland regimes and then became the head of its military government. He turned the Transkei into a ‘liberated space’, giving shelter to ANC and PAC activists, and declared his intention of holding a referendum on the reincorporation of the Transkei into South Africa. These actions brought him immense popularity and the military dictator became a liberation hero for many South Africans. When the unbanned ANC held its first election for its national executive in 1994, Holomisa, who had by now joined the party, received the most votes, beating long-time veterans and party stalwarts. He and Mandela developed a close relationship, and Holomisa served in Mandela’s cabinet as deputy minister for environmental affairs and tourism. As this biography reveals, the relationship with both Mandela and the ANC broke down after Holomisa testified before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, among other issues, that Stella Sigcau and her cabinet colleagues had accepted a bribe from Sol Kerzner. After being expelled from the ANC, Holomisa formed his own party, the United Democratic Movement, with Roelf Meyer. As leader of the UDM, Holomisa has played a prominent role in building coalitions among opposition parties and in leading important challenges to the dominant party. This biography, written in collaboration with Holomisa, presents an engaging and revealing account of a man who has made his mark as a game changer in South African politics.

    Approx 5 - 9 Business Days

    R 267.00


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