Launch of landmark publication by Dr Thula Simpson

Posted on May 05, 2016

A landmark book titled Umkhonto we Sizwe: the ANC's armed struggle,  written by Dr Thula Simpson, a lecturer in Historical Studies at the University of Pretoria (UP), was recently launched at the Merensky 2 Library on the Hatfield Campus.

Prof Vasu Reddy, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, welcomed those present and said how proud the Faculty and the University is of Dr Simpson's book. Prof Reddy also highlighted the importance of the book, which is the – the first major account of the history of the ANC's military wing, uMkhonto weSizwe (MK).

Dr Simpson responded by thanking UP, Prof Reddy and the Faculty of Humanities for helping to make the book possible. He said that his love for reading about history from a young age inspired him to write the book. 

The book is the first complete account of the struggle, from its early days in the 1950s to the inauguration of Nelson Mandela as President of South Africa in 1994. It covers activities that took place throughout Southern Africa, where MK's largest campaigns and heaviest engagements occurred, as well as the solidarity networks that the struggle mobilised around the world.

The publishers, Penguin Books, say the book draws from previously unpublished writings and testimonies by the men and women who fought in the armed struggle. It 'recreates the drama, heroism and tragedy of their experiences. It tells the story of leaders, like Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, Joe Slovo and Chris Hani, whose reputations were forged in the crucible of the armed struggle, but it is also a tale of martyrs, such as Looksmart Ngudle, Ashley Kriel and Phila Ndwandwe. It tells of MK cadres such as those led by Leonard Nkosi and Glory Sedibe, who would ultimately turn against the ANC and collaborate with the state in hunting down their former comrades.'

For more information on the book, please send an email to [email protected].


- Author Myan Subrayan

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