Mamphela Ramphele and other interesting political biographies you need to know about

By admin
20 November 2013

Fans of autobiographies will be glad to hear Agang SA leader Dr Mamphela Ramphela’s latest book is out. For the first time, the struggle icon, former business woman and medical doctor shares anecdotes of her life.

Fans of autobiographies will be glad to hear Agang SA leader Dr Mamphela Ramphele’s latest book is out. For the first time, the struggle icon, former business woman and medical doctor shares anecdotes of her life.

She is frank about her vision for the nation but also describes her rural childhood, her life with Steve Biko and the losses she has suffered. A Passion for Freedom is now available in stores.

Other interesting political biographies published over the past few years:

  • In his book entitled My Second Initiation co-authored by Mandy Wiener, Advocate Vusi Pikoli talks candidly about his roots in the Eastern Cape, his 14 years in exile and his inner turmoil at prosecuting comrades during his time as National Director of Public Presecutions. He also writes about the arms deal and the Scorpions – as well as the Brett Kebble murder and Travelgate. In his book he interrogates what has become of the country’s justice system and the ANC he grew up in.
  • Kgalema Motlanthe: A Political Biography by Ebrahim Harvey was published last year. The deputy president is usually quite private but life takes some prominence in the book as he details the breakdown of his marriage to Mapule Motlanthe, his time on Robben Island and the political allies he strengthened there. The book also includes interviews with Motlanthe’s family, friends and comrades at Cosatu, NUM, the SACP, the ANC and government.
  • Former DA leader Tony Leon’s The Accidental Ambassador: From Parliament to Patagonia published this year is an interesting take on his retirement from active politics and details his journey as the South African ambassador to Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.
  • In 491 Days: Prisoner Number 1323/69, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela shares extracts from her 491-day prison journal. She also shares snippets of letters between herself, Nelson Mandela and her children.  The book is co-edited by Sahm Venter of the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory and Madikizela-Mandela’s granddaughter Swati Dlamini.
  • Fighting for Justice, a 2011 book by former minister and anti-apartheid activist Jay Naidoo details his life in the labour federation Cosatu. The former minister responsible for the Reconstruction and Development Programme and later Minister of Communications Naidoo tells his life story and includes the painful encounters he had during apartheid, his experiences with Steve Biko and even his love life.

- Asa Sokopo

Sources: www.nelsonmandela.org; www.tonyleon.com; www.panmacmillan.co.za; www.amazon.com

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