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Memoirs of a veteran

11 April 2014, 14:14

The “In Transit” autobiography launched at WSU’s NMD campus in Mthatha recently chronicles the political journey of a South African Mkhonto Wesizwe (MK) Veteran and acclaimed academic, Fanele Mbali.  

The book is one of a few South African memoirs and recollections of cadres who participated in the Armed Struggle during the liberation movement days.

In the insightful words of the National Heritage Council CEO, Adv. Sonwabile Mancotywa: “Reading the book today, one is struck by the question: how does one navigate the fine line between critical reflection and constructive criticism on one hand, and perceptions of disloyalty on the other?”

Mbali has published widely and preceding his latest offering his publications include ‘’Independent Unions in South Africa (1986)’, ‘A Skills Profile of Black South Africans’ (co-authored with Dr Norman Levy, 1988), ‘A Socio-economic profile of the Extended Wild Coast’ (1999), various working papers for the Eastern Cape Provincial and Local Governments and other organisations.

Mbali found work at the University of Transkei as it was then, now Walter Sisulu University, where he taught Economics, Economic History and Development Economics. He retired from the university in 2002.

Mancotywa said that publication of books such as In Transit provides balance in the way the Struggle for Liberation in South Africa is narrated and is an antidote to one-sided portrayals from the side of a discredited regime.

“It records and pays tribute to the many ordinary South Africans who paid the supreme sacrifice or who were prepared to suffer a great deal for their beliefs (it is a textual memorial, as it were).  It also identifies not only those who actively and directly participated in the Armed Struggle (unsung heroes and heroines),” he said.  

Mancotywa also added that “In Transit” could be a relevant source material in developing the Liberation Heritage Route.

 “It is a sensitively written tribute to the many ordinary men and women – unsung heroes and heroines - who did extraordinary things by someone who himself did extraordinary things in the cause of liberating South Africa,” he concluded.

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