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  • Dr Abdullah Abdurahman: South Africa’s First Elected Black Politician

    Martin Plaut, Dr Abdullah Abdurahman: South Africa’s First Elected Black Politician (Johannesburg: Jacana, 2020) HIS funeral in Cape Town in February 1940 attracted a massive multiracial crowd. He had been a dedicated Cape Town city […]

     
  • Jwara!: Induna’s Daughter

    Joyce Piliso-Seroke, Jwara!: Induna’s Daughter (Cape Town: Tafelberg, 2020) THE AUTHOR of Jwara!, a clan name, was born in 1933 into her father’s second house, part of the Eastern Cape African Christian bourgeoisie. Her father, […]

     
  • The Unlikely Mr Rogue: A Life with Ivan Pillay

    Evelyn Groenink, The Unlikely Mr Rogue: A Life with Ivan Pillay (Johannesburg: Jacana, 2020) TITLE and sub-title are well chosen: this is both biography and autobiography. Evelyn Groenink is an accomplished journalist and writer who […]

     
  • Adam Habib, SOAS and the speech police

    BACK in the mid-1980s, when the anti-apartheid struggle was at a height, a group of Pietermaritzburg youngsters set up a group called Forward Youth. It had a socialist agenda and lived up to it by […]

     
  • Apartheid’s not dead yet

    WHEN still head of the library on the local university campus, I was required by the institution’s equity commissar to classify all my colleagues (over 50 of them) by race. As a lifelong advocate of […]

     
  • Escape from Lubumbashi: A Refugee’s Journey on Foot to Reunite her Family

    Estelle Neethling, Escape from Lubumbashi: A Refugee’s Journey on Foot to Reunite her Family (Pretoria: Unisa Press, 2021) PROLONGED conflict in the DRC produced Africa’s Great War. Casualties are hard to pin down, or comprehend: […]

     
  • These are not Gentle People: A True Story

    Andrew Harding, These are not Gentle People: A True Story (Johannesburg: Picador Africa, 2020) AN OLD man is attacked on a farm near Parys in the northern Free State in January 2016 by two or […]

     
  • Views on life in the continuing crisis: part two

    WE’VE just passed 23 March, the day the first UK lockdown began in 2020. The charity Marie Curie named it a ‘Day of Reflection’, and encouraged a minute’s silence at noon and distanced candlelight vigils […]

     
  • The Man Behind the Beard: Deneys Schreiner, a South African Liberal Life

    Graham Dominy, The Man Behind the Beard: Deneys Schreiner, a South African Liberal Life (Pietermaritzburg: University of KwaZulu-Natal Press, 2020) COURTESY of Covid-19 and lockdown of the UKZN Press, I collected my review copy of […]

     
  • The Blackridge House: A Memoir

    Julia Martin, The Blackridge House: A Memoir (Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball, 2019) AN OLD woman of 92 lies bedridden in a Cape Town nursing home watching squirrels and birds in the branches of a syringa tree. […]