As a biographer, Colin Bundy had a long [and fruitful?] relationship with the late Govan Mbeki, a political leader who was one of the leading lights of South Africa’s African National Congress and a father to the country’s ex-President Thabo Mbeki . Correspondence between them stretched back to the days when it was still unfashionable to write letters to the ‘terrorists’ incarcerated on Robben Island.
Africa’s unending wars are notoriously harsh on her kids; the boys get forcibly conscripted as child soldiers while the girls are forced to grow up quickly to serve the sexual urges of the beasts that fight these senseless wars. In a normal world, Risto Mahuno could have been just a boy playing in the sand and Nene – his childhood love interest, just another village girl.
A senior lecturer in sociology at Wits University, the author Sarah Mosoetsa works from the premise that the family is the microcosm of society. In her book (published in 2011 by Witwatersrand University Press), Mosoetsa looks at African households in the KwaZulu/Natal townships of Mpumalanga [Hammersdale] and Enhlalakahle [Greytown]. What she finds is shockingly representative of the entire country – indeed the whole continent and the Third World.
On September 20, 2008, South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress, took the unprecedented step of dismissing Thabo Mbeki, the country’s then president from his position as party chairman. The move, which effectively ended Mbeki’s term presidency, marked the climax of a bitter internal struggle within the party. In Eight Days in September (published in 2012 by Picador), author Frank Chikane describes the circumstances that led to this historical event.
Published in 2006 by University of Kwazulu-Natal Press, Pamphilia Hlapa’s A Daughter’s Legacy is a tearjerker that brings to life the ugly scourge of child sexual abuse that virtually continued unabated in the village of the author’s upbringing where silence was golden and speaking out against such was taboo.
The answer to why Africa is poor is simply that its leaders have made this choice, argues Greg Mills in Why Africa is Poor: And What Africans Can Do About It (published in 2011 by Penguin). The Big Man mentality that is ubiquitous all over the continent has done Africa’s development a lot of harm. Aid, on the other hand, has proven to have the opposite of its desired effect in the continent – it has helped us move backwards rather than catapult us forward into the league of other nations of the world.
While on assignment in Athens, Louise Cantor, a woman archeologist, phones her son Henrik in Stockholm to say she’ll drop in on him as she’s headed for a conference in Sweden in a few days’ time. Louise does not get to through to her son, and later when she gets to Stockholm, she finds him in bed in his flat after the conference, neatly tucked in and unusually in his pyjamas – dead.
And so begins her whirlwind ride in search of the truth regarding the death of her son. She’s convinced it is not a suicide. But
Like a seamstress, Heidi Holland knits together the 100 years of South Africa’s African National Congress, using Mandela as a thread linking all the patches. In her latest book, Holland ponders the question whether or not the ANC, built through so many years of hard struggle, is able to provide its own raison d’etre – a better life for all.
This is a simple story of two worlds; one, the underbelly of urban Dar-es-Salaam where Moses the child vagrant stakes his claim to eke out a living and the other, the wilderness of Tanzania where man remains an unwelcome intruder. The author, Mark Thornton, is an internationally respected wilderness safari guide and conservationist.