A Legacy of Liberation

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  • Copyright: 2009-03-31
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

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A#xA0;gripping social history of South Africa's past and future and#xA0;beautifully narrated by one of Africa's most esteemed journalists, From Struggle to#xA0;Liberation#xA0;sheds light on the future of the nation under a new regime. With unprecedented access to Thabo Mbeki and the top brass in the African National Congress, Mark Gevisser weaves a nuanced portrait of the black experience under apartheid. Revelations about the current president#xA0;and the politics that continue to shape South Africa include: - Thabo Mbeki's difficult relationship with his own political activist and largely absent father Govan Mbeki, who was imprisoned on Robben Island with Nelson Mandela. - How the death of his son Kwanda in the diamond mines and the murder of his brother Jama directly affected his leadership and will continue to shape the governance of Africa for years to come. - The reasons behind#xA0;Mbeki's puzzling refusal to admit that the HIV virus causes AIDS, which in South Africa#xA0;claims 800#xA0;lives per day, and his support of corrupt governments such as Zimbabwe's. - Inside rivalry between Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma, the populist leader destined to take over as president in 2009. This accessible account of a monumental period in world history is the definitive look at contemporary South Africa.


“A monumental biography”--Barry Bearak, The New York Times  “A judicious and an eye-opening account of a life intersecting history at the most profound level.”--Publishers Weekly (starred review)  “One of the great epic books to come out of South Africa since the end of apartheid. Rigorously reported, beautifully written, A Legacy of Liberation is at once a rich social history of the black experience under apartheid--as seen through its leaders, movements and people-- and a brilliant expedition through the country's political and personal landscape, past, present and future.”--Katrina Vanden Heuvel, publisher of The Nation and editor of A Just Response and a Dictionary of Republicanism  “If Thabo Mbeki has been an enigma to the West, no one better explains him, how he got that way, and how it affected his place in the history of South Africa--old and new--than Mark Gevisser.  Exhaustive research, incredible and impeccable contacts and the skill of a gifted writer and analyst combine to make this one of the best chronicles of a man and a movement in our time.”-- Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Special Africa correspondent, NPR and author New News out of Africa: Uncovering the African Renaissance “A landmark biography that provides invaluable insights into the personality, politics, and eventually the legacy of one of Africa’s most brilliant yet controversial leaders. There are lessons here that go well beyond South Africa.” -- Princeton Lyman, Council for Foreign Relations and Former U.S. ambassador to South Africa. “This is the finest book I have read out of post-apartheid South Africa.  Mark Gevisser makes sense not only of Thabo Mbeki but of the struggle itself, and he does so in lucid, brilliant prose.”--Lynn Freed, author of The Servants’ Quarters “This extraordinary biography draws the reader into the multilayered world in which Mbeki rose to leadership and shaped the destiny of millions. A splendid contribution to our understanding of contemporary South Africa.”--Gail M. Gerhart, author of Black Power in South Africa “Mark Gevisser has given us a wonderfully readable study of a powerful man's character: he shows how Thabo Mbeki shaped, and was shaped by, South Africa's troubled history. After a decade interviewing key players in the liberation struggle and their sometimes forgotten families, Gevisser writes with both compassion and a keenly critical eye. A fine wordsmith with an eye for evocative detail, he exposes the demons besetting  the South African dream.  A Legacy of Liberation is crucial for understanding what lies ahead for South Africa in the twenty-first century.”--Diana Wylie, author of Art and Revolution Praise for the South African Edition “Probably the finest piece of non-fiction to come out of South Africa since the end of apartheid.”--Martin Plaut, Times Literary Supplement "Cerebral yet intimate, and beautifully written."--Richard Calland, Mail and Guardian "Anyone who wants to go beyond those clichés, and also to understand what has happened in South Africa since the end of white rule should read [this]. In the process they will get swept up in an extraordinarily compelling and at times infuriating and tragic story… Far and away the most authoritative book on Nelson Mandela’s successor…Gevisser – one of South Africa’s foremost journalists – writes with passion and conviction…Neither simplistic nor synthetic. Rather it is one of the great explanatory narratives of South Africa over the past 60-odd years."--Alec Russell, Financial Times  "Retraces in great detail the president's life from his childhood in rural Transkei to his 28 years in exile and his ascent to power. In the process he sheds considerable light on more than half a century of South Africa's difficult history. … essential reading for anyone intrigued by South Africa's complex philosopher-king."--The Economist  "Deep and fascinating [study] ... a human portrait of a man variously called an enigma, Machiavellian, an intellectual, a visionary and Stalinist.”--The Times (SA)

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