Hours before millions of South Africans were due to head to the polls on Wednesday, 8 May 2019, 25 years after the first democratic elections that followed the end of apartheid, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) hosted a discussion with the authors of the new handbook, The A-Z of South African Politics. UJ Library hosted the discussion on Tuesday, 07 May 2019, in partnership with Jacana Media, who are the book’s publishers.
Speaking at the book discussion, former newspaper editor and the Senior Manager of Strategic Communications, UJ, Lebogang Seale – who is part of the group of award-winning journalists and editors who compiled and wrote the book stressed that with the South African political landscape shifting by the day, the handbook will deepen an understanding of politics in the country.
“Deliberately not academic, the book, which features more than 300 entries, seeks to give perspective and understanding of some of the most prominent figures and formations and seminal events in South Africa, all categorised alphabetically,” said Seale
“A-Z of South African Politics is a guide to influential people, political parties, social movements and power brokers that have shaped the country’s democratic landscape over the last 10 years. Our aim was to deepen people’s understanding of how politics work, who the key players are and why they matter. From the wheelers and dealers, saints and sinners, villains and heroes, power brokers and disruptors, the book gives insights into the political, social and economics of our country.”
Former Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, wrote the foreword, while respected political analysts Dr Somadoda Fikeni and Professor Susan Booysen also endorsed the book.
Seale and his co-authors – Janet Smith, Kashiefa Ajam, Thabiso Thakali, Kevin Ritchie – all worked at Independent Newspapers at some point of their careers – pointed out that politics unites South Africans and that it is key to have the knowledge and history of political parties when one navigate one’s way through the country’s complex political landscape.
When the book was launched at Constitution Hill’s Old Fort in February, Prof Madonsela said it was pertinent that the entries were as controversial as the subjects themselves, thereby highlighting the book’s currency and boldness. The A-Z of South African Politics can be found at most bookshops and as an e-book.