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South Africa

South Africa Book List

Cover of 'Albert Luthuli'

Albert Luthuli
By Robert Trent Vinson

In an excellent addition to the Ohio Short Histories of Africa series, Robert Trent Vinson recovers the forgotten story of Albert Luthuli, Africa’s first Nobel Peace Prize winner, who linked South African antiapartheid politics with international human rights campaigns and was a leading advocate of nonviolent civil disobedience techniques.

Cover of 'Amy Biehl’s Last Home'

Amy Biehl’s Last Home
A Bright Life, a Tragic Death, and a Journey of Reconciliation in South Africa
By Steven D. Gish

Granted unrestricted access to the Biehl family’s papers, Steven Gish brings Amy and the Foundation to life in ways that have eluded previous authors. He is the first to place Biehl’s story in its full historical context, while also presenting a gripping portrait of this remarkable young woman and the aftermath of her death across two continents.

Cover of 'Internal Frontiers'

Internal Frontiers
African Nationalism and the Indian Diaspora in Twentieth-Century South Africa
By Jon Soske

In this ambitious new history of the antiapartheid struggle, Jon Soske places India and the Indian diaspora at the center of the African National Congress’s development of an inclusive philosophy of nationalism. In so doing, Soske combines intellectual, political, religious, urban, and gender history to tell a story that is global in reach while remaining grounded in the everyday materiality of life under apartheid.

Cover of 'The Truth and Reconciliation Commission'

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission
By Mary Ingouville Burton

In 1995, South Africa’s new government set up the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a lynchpin of the country’s journey forward from apartheid. In contrast to the Nuremberg Trials and other retributive responses to atrocities, the TRC’s emphasis on reconciliation marked a restorative approach to addressing human rights violations and their legacies. The hearings, headed by Bishop Desmond Tutu, began in spring of 1996.

Cover of 'Thabo Mbeki'

Thabo Mbeki
By Adekeye Adebajo

In this concise biography, ideally suited for the classroom, Adekeye Adebajo seeks to illuminate former South African president Thabo Mbeki’s contradictions and situate him in a pan-African pantheon.

Cover of 'Promise and Despair'

Promise and Despair
The First Struggle for a Non-Racial South Africa
By Martin Plaut

The struggle for freedom in South Africa goes back a long way. In 1909, a remarkable interracial delegation of South Africans traveled to London to lobby for a non-racialized constitution and franchise for all. Among their allies was Mahatma Gandhi, who later encapsulated lessons from the experience in his most important book, Hind Swaraj. Though the mission failed, the London debates were critical to the formation of the African National Congress in 1912.

Cover of 'The Art of Life in South Africa'

The Art of Life in South Africa
By Daniel Magaziner

From 1952 to 1981, South Africa’s apartheid government ran an art school for the training of African art teachers at Indaleni, in what is today KwaZulu-Natal. The Art of Life in South Africa is the story of the students, teachers, art, and politics that circulated through a small school, housed in a remote former mission station.

Cover of 'Citizenship, Belonging, and Political Community in Africa'

Citizenship, Belonging, and Political Community in Africa
Dialogues between Past and Present
Edited by Emma Hunter

Africa, it is often said, is suffering from a crisis of citizenship. At the heart of the contemporary debates this apparent crisis has provoked lie dynamic relations between the present and the past, between political theory and political practice, and between legal categories and lived experience. Yet studies of citizenship in Africa have often tended to foreshorten historical time and privilege the present at the expense of the deeper past.

Cover of 'Tales of the Metric System'

Tales of the Metric System
A Novel
By Imraan Coovadia

In Tales of the Metric System, Coovadia explores a turbulent South Africa from 1970 into the present. He takes his home country's transition from imperial to metric measurements as his catalyst, holding South Africa up and examining it from the diverse perspectives of his many characters.

Cover of 'The ANC Women’s League'

The ANC Women’s League
Sex, Gender and Politics
By Shireen Hassim

First formed in the early twentieth century, the ANC Women’s League has grown into a leading organization in the women’s movement in South Africa. The league has been at the forefront of the nation’s century-long transition from an authoritarian state to a democracy that espouses gender equality as a core constitutional value.

Cover of 'Short-Changed?'

Short-Changed?
South Africa since Apartheid
By Colin Bundy

What have been the most significant developments — political, social, economic — in South Africa since 1994? How much has changed since the demise of apartheid, and how much remains stubbornly the same? Should one celebrate a robust democracy now two decades old, or lament the corrosive effects of factionalism, greed, and corruption on political life? Colin Bundy tries to answer such questions, while avoiding simplistic or one-sided assessments of life under Mandela, Mbeki, and Zuma.

Cover of 'The Soweto Uprising'

The Soweto Uprising
By Noor Nieftagodien

The Soweto uprising was a true turning point in South Africa’s history. Even to contemporaries, it seemed to mark the beginning of the end of apartheid. This compelling book examines both the underlying causes and the immediate factors that led to this watershed event. It looks at the crucial roles of Black Consciousness ideology and nascent school-based organizations in shaping the character and form of the revolt.

Cover of '491 Days'

491 Days
Prisoner Number 1323/69
By Winnie Madikizela-Mandela
· Foreword by Ahmed Kathrada

On a freezing winter’s night, a few hours before dawn on May 12, 1969, South African security police stormed the Soweto home of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, activist and wife of the imprisoned Nelson Mandela, and arrested her in the presence of her two young daughters, then aged nine and ten. Rounded up in a group of other antiapartheid activists under Section 6 of the Terrorism Act, designed for the security police to hold and interrogate people for as long as they wanted, she was taken away.

Cover of 'South Africa’s Suspended Revolution'

South Africa’s Suspended Revolution
Hopes and Prospects
By Adam Habib

South Africa’s Suspended Revolution tells the story of South Africa’s democratic transition and the prospects for the country to develop a truly inclusive political system. Beginning with an account of the transition in the leadership of the African National Congress from Thabo Mbeki to Jacob Zuma, the book then broadens its lens to examine the relationship of South Africa’s political elite to its citizens.