5 South African books to add to your 2019 reading list

The resurrection of Winnie Mandela

The Ressurection of Winnie Mandela is a book published in November 2018 by acclaimed author, Sisonke Msimang. She is a South African writer whose work is focused on race, gender, and democracy. About the book, non-fiction examining the life of South Africa’s most controversial political character – Winnie an anti-apartheid campaigner and former spouse of Nelson Mandela whose death ignited a reclaim of her legacy as a powerful, extraordinary woman, politician, and anti-apartheid activist.

“ In telling Ma Winnie’s story, Sisonke Msimang demonstrates the vital link between reclaiming lives of one complex woman and activism aimed at restoring the dignity of all women. ”  – The Reading List

I remember Mandela

I remember Mandela is a book foreword of the widow of South African Former President Nelson Mandela and edited by Vimla Naidoo and Sahm Venter. The creation of the book was inspired by former staff members of Nelson Mandela. Graca met the staff members to thank them for their service after the passing of Mr. Mandela and while listening to their stories got encouraged. The book features warm, poignant and humorous memories – “ a behind the scenes with one of the most revered and beloved political figures the world has seen.”

To survive and to succeed: from farm boy to businessman

A story of sheer determination and triumph with commendations by Thabo Mbeki, Dali Mpofu, and Kgalema Motlanthe. A story of a successful businessman who was kicked out of his farm home together with his siblings at a young age. Mkhuseli Khusta Jack was at a tender age of 6 homeless, sleeping in old buildings but desperate for an education. He finally got admitted to a school, grew to be involved in politics and got arrested a couple of times in the 1980s. Assisted in establishing political organizations in the Eastern Cape. He was arrested and tortured for his political involvements – involved in South Africa’s democracy negotiations but chose education over politics, Jack went on to study further.

Miss Behave

Upon encountering historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s quote, ‘well-behaved women seldom make history’, Malebo Sephodi knew that she was tired of everyone else having a say on who and what she should be. Appropriating this quote, Malebo boldly renounces societal expectations placed on her as a black woman and shares her journey towards misbehavior. According to Malebo, it is the norm for a black woman to live in a society that prescribes what it means to be a well-behaved woman.

Born in Chains: The Diary of an angry “Born free”

A book by Clinton Chauke, who presents chronicles of his life, from his birth in the dawn of South Africa’s democratic regime, 1994. The author tells the story of his life from Mandela’s Presidency to the current Ramaphosa administration. The term ‘Bornfree’ in South Africa is a name given to anyone born in the birth of democracy – Chauke denies being a born free. The central message of the book according to Chauke is to “reject the born free label, which many love to romanticize forgetting its implications.”

“The book is a humorous, fast-paced, witty and courageous take of family relations, displacement, religion, culture, education, forced internal immigration and ethnic stereotyping.”   – Johannesburg review of books




By: Kgothatso Nkanyane



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