… this is the most freely written and undiplomatic memoir of a former Umkhonto we Sizwe combatant (and later super spy) that I have read. It is not filled with gossip and scandal, nor with anger or exaltation. Rather, it displays wild, irrepressible energy all of the author’s own. I loved reading it. It went on and on, but I wanted it to just go on even further.
This book was completed shortly before the great changes in national leadership took place in December 2017. It took some courage to write it then. It says something for the author that not a line needs to be altered now. If it has one overarching motif, it is that long service in the struggle in itself carries no entitlement to either power, riches or fame. As the book’s title signals, this is a book about time. And it’s about time that this book appears.
— Albie Sachs
Trim size: 230 x 150mm
Page count: 384 pages
Imagery: Black & white photographs
Genre: Cultural History
Chapter 1: The Rapture
Chapter 2: Born in these Climes
Chapter 3: Evolution of a Consciousness
Chapter 4: Into Exile
Chapter 5: Into Umkhonto we Sizwe
Chapter 6: In America
Chapter 7: Smuggling the Baby
Chapter 8: Poli!co-Military Council
Chapter 9: The Frontline
Chapter 10: Interregnum of Disjuncture
Chapter 11: The Bitch is still in Heat
Chapter 12: The Presidency (Part I)
Chapter 13: National Intelligence Agency (NIA)
Chapter 14: Mvelaphanda Years
Chapter 15: The Presidency (Part II)
Chapter 16: Epilogue
Vusi Mavimbela is one of South Africa’s foremost political adventurers and wanderers. A writer of singular verve, humour and descriptive power, his memoir provides penetrating pen portraits of many well-known South African and African political actors, including martyred Umkhonto weSizwe guerilla Solomon Mahlangu, Nigeria’s Olusegun Obasanjo, Robert Mugabe, and a galaxy of senior ANC exiles such as Joe Slovo, Chris Hani, Josiah Jele, Joel Netshitenzhe and Mac Maharaj. He touches on and illuminates the personalities of many influential men and women in South Africa’s early democratic governments.
But the heart of Mavimbela’s narrative lies in his unique experience of working as a top administrator and counsellor in the offices of Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma. In the most intimate detail, he describes the emergence and escalation of the conflict between those two flawed principals. He captures the drama of their struggle and its destructive fallout for the new South African state. Mavimbela offers a potent warning: loyalty and long service to a political party is no guarantee of wise and
* Author’s corrigendum on page 163: The incident involving Mac Maharaj did not lead to Jele’s suspension by the SACP.