Artist and Hero

2008-08-06 00:00

If this book was a movie on the South African revolution it would be star-studded, based on the names of the people the lead character was in close contact with. Thami Mnyele is presented as an artist who assisted the revolution, but was also a freedom fighter, like many of the people we now name streets after. Names like Baleka Mbete, Thabo Mbeki, Steve Biko, O. R. Tambo, Nelson Mandela, Hugh Masekela, Abdullah Ibrahim and others make appearances in this book.

While the sub-title The Life and Death of Thami Mnyele is suggestive, the book focuses more on Mnyele’s life. His death and eventual exhumation and reburial 20 years later are described but do not overshadow the life and work of the man. It is a book you need to read more than once, for its historical significance and surprising relevance to South Africa today.

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