Veteran journalists to launch their books

Malala, Haffejee and Matisonn add to the SA narrative

It is good news for consumers of non-fiction writing as three veteran journalists launch books about the state of South Africa.

Three leading South African journalists will be launching their books at the Book Lounge in Cape Town in the next few weeks.

First off is Justice Malala’s book, We have now begun our descent, which is to be launched tonight, 11 November. Two weeks later, Ferial Haffejee’s book, What if there were no Whites in South Africa, will be launched. John Matisonn takes centre stage on 9 December when his book God, Spies and Lies, hits the bookshops.

Their books will add to the rich narrative emerging about South Africa – its threats, opportunities and possibilities.

The Book Lounge has provided the following details of the respective books.

Justice Malala Book

We have now begun our descent

The first launch is on Wednesday, 11 November, by Justice Malala.

12 FEBRUARY 2015: The South African secret services block the cell phones of journalists covering Parliament. Opposition party members are violently thrown out of the House. President Jacob Zuma – accused of corruption on a grand scale – laughs uproariously. Where is the country of Nelson Mandela headed?

The institutions of democracy are falling apart or being captured by a narrow and deeply corrupt elite built around Zuma. Its infrastructure is collapsing. Its economy cannot provide succour to the eight million who don’t have jobs. Protests over service delivery are on the rise. Does South Africa have the resolve and the leadership to stem the slide?

In a devastating, searing, honest paean to his country, renowned political journalist and commentator Justice Malala forces South Africa to come face to face with the country it has become: corrupt, crime-ridden, compromised and its institutions captured by a selfish political elite that is bent on enriching itself at the expense of the increasingly marginalised masses.

In this deeply personal reflection, Malala’s diagnosis is devastating: South Africa is on the brink. He does not stop there. Malala believes that we have the ingredients to turn things around: our lauded Constitution, our wealth of talent, our history of activism and a democratic trajectory that can be used to stop the rot from setting in. But he has a warning: South Africans need to wake up now, or else they will soon find their country has been stolen.

Ferial Haffajee Book

What if there were No Whites in South Africa?

Ferial Haffajee will launch her book on Thursday, 26 November.

Haffajee is highly respected as one of South Africa’s thought leaders and commentators. She effectively uses her media platform to raise and discuss issues pertinent to the state of the nation.

Before becoming the editor-in-chief at City Press, Haffajee headed up the Mail & Guardian. She sits on the boards of the International Women’s Media Foundation, the World Editors Forum, the International Press Institute and the Inter Press Service, and she has won several awards, including international ones, related to media freedom and independence as well as for her reporting over the years.

In What if there were no Whites in South Africa? Haffajee examines our history and our present in the light of a provocative question that yields some thought-provoking analysis for the country.

John Matisonn

God, Spies and Lies

Veteran journalist John Matisonn will launch his book on Wednesday, 9 December.

“For a couple of months in the near perfect summer of 1990/1991, Jacob Zuma came to stay in my house in Norwood, Johannesburg… Twenty five years later, my former house guest has all but morally bankrupted Nelson Mandela’s ruling African National Congress. President Zuma’s vision-free leadership, corrupt personal behaviour and attempts to use his political power to distort the judicial system render him no better than Italy’s corrupt bunga-bunga partying ex-prime minister, Sylvio Berlusconi.”
So begins God, Spies and Lies, the most explosive insider’s account since Mandela came to power, a never-before-seen insider’s account of how South Africa got here — and how things went wrong. It takes you into the room with Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki, into the Oval Office of the US President and the British Prime Minister’s Chequers country estate, as the fate of southern Africa was being set before and after 1994.

Among its revelations are:

  • How Nelson Mandela studied the Afrikaner Broederbond to end white rule at the same time as he set up the military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe in 1961.
    • The story of the apartheid spy who fooled the white liberal elite.
    • What made George Bush Senior change his mind about white rule in Southern Africa
    • How Robert Mugabe fooled South African intelligence.
    • Why South Africa missed the Information Economy
    • What disillusioned Thabo Mbeki with the British Labour Party
    • How Jacob Zuma came under the spell of the Chinese Communist Party.
    • What it would take to get the country back on track