Gift an article

Thula Simpson on SA history: 'What are the key moments that made us?'

accreditation
Share your Subscriber Article
You have 5 articles to share every month. Send this story to a friend!
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
loading...
Loading, please wait...
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Thula Simpson (Photo by Mariki Uitenweerde)
Thula Simpson (Photo by Mariki Uitenweerde)

It's a pleasure to interview Thula Simpson – he speaks in paragraphs. He's also attentive to detail. Just as he notes in his book, History of South Africa: From 1902 to the Present (Penguin) that the ANC's "Polokwane" conference actually took place in Mankweng, 30km away, when he tells me he was born in Swaziland, he notes that it is now called Eswatini.

History of South Africa covers the period from the end of the Boer War, when what is now South Africa was unified under British rule, right up to the Covid-19 pandemic that hit South Africa in 2020 and the "July days" of looting and alleged insurrection in mid-2021. As he writes in his preface, "South Africa was born in war, its growth has been marked by major crises and profound ruptures, and it once again stands on a precipice".

The roots of his History, however, lie in Simpson's previous work, the monumental study of the ANC's armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (2016). 

Read this for free
Get 14 days free to read all our investigative and in-depth journalism. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed.
Subscribe
Already a subscriber? Sign in
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE