Book Review: ‘Spy – Uncovering Craig Williamson’

Peter Vale, University of Johannesburg Book Review: Spy – Uncovering Craig Williamson by Jonathan Ancer; Jacana Media, Johannesburg, March 2017 One can judge a book’s bleakness by the photograph on its cover. The Mephistophelian figure holding a tea cup is Craig Williamson: police informant, Cold War spy and apartheid assassin. Prizewinning journalist Jonathan Ancer’s goal …

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Book review: finding a vocabulary to judge Thabo Mbeki

Peter Vale, University of Johannesburg South Africa’s second democratically elected president remains a puzzle to many notwithstanding Mark Gevisser, who wrote the fine 2007 biography, “Thabo Mbeki: The Dream Deferred”. Of course, there are many different explanations for why he puzzles us so. Also, why he haunts our politics nine years after he lost the …

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New narrative unfolds about South Africa’s war in Angola

Dries Velthuizen, University of South Africa The book A Far-Away War: Angola 1975 – 1989, about the war waged by apartheid South Africa against its neighbour, has attracted the attention of historians and those who fought in it. More than a quarter of a century after it ended, the war is still remembered by many …

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Book Review: ‘Reader’s Digest Illustrated History of South Africa’

(This book review was originally published in the New York City Tribune on Wednesday, August 2, 1989, before the release of Nelson Mandela from prison and the legalization of anti-apartheid political groups such as the ANC, and five years before South Africa’s first multiracial, democratic elections.) RICHARD SINCERE An Outstanding Work Condemned to Obsolescence by …

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Book Review: ‘A History of South Africa’ by Leonard Thompson

This review first appeared in Volume 1, Number 1, of terra nova (Summer [North] Winter [South] 1991). Is Past Really Prologue? South Africa’s New Era Richard E. Sincere, Jr. A History of South Africa by Leonard Thompson. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990), 288 pp., illustrated, $29.95 cloth. The apartheid era of South African history has …

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