Social & Environmental Issues

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  • Black Tax: Burden or Ubuntu? R200.00

    A secret anguish for some, a proud responsibility for others, black tax draws heated and wide-ranging reactions. While the debate rages, these payments and other forms of support to family members remain a daily reality for many black South Africans. Black tax has its historical roots in the inequalities created by apartheid and the loss of land. Consequently, thousands of black South Africans still live in poverty today. Some believe black tax is an undeniable part of black culture and part of the philosophy of ubuntu.

    Others feel they should not have to take over what is essentially a government responsibility and should be allowed to focus on building their own wealth. In this book, award-winning author Niq Mhlongo has brought together deeply personal stories that tease apart a multitude of thought-provoking perceptions on black tax by well-known writers, such as Dudu Busani-Dube, Sifiso Mzobe, Fred Khumalo, Mohale Mashigo, Thanduxolo Jika and many other new voices.

    The stories cover an engrossing cross-section of experiences, ranging from the student who diverts bursary money to put food on the table back home, family members who make outrageous demands on individuals often resulting in debt to look after their families, to people who are happy to open their homes to provide shelter to jobseekers or the downtrodden. In giving voice to the many different perspectives on this topical issue, this book hopes to start a dialogue about this undeniable part of the lived reality of black South Africans.

    Author: Niq Mhlongo

  • Broke and Broken - The Shameful Legacy of Gold Mining in South Africa R250.00

    In 1889 a gold rush broke out on the Witwatersrand, changing South Africa’s history forever. More than 130 years later the mining industry is still one of the biggest drivers of the economy but this was at the expense of those who worked underground. Broke & Broken is the story of the thousands of men from South Africa and beyond its borders who paid with their lives for generations. These are men who left their homes as healthy, ambitious youngsters and returned broke, broken and bitter; victims of the shameful legacy of gold mining. The book seeks to say the names of the mine workers who, through their sweat, blood and tears, have built this country’s economy, because their own stories and their own spirits need to be magnified. The precious stone they spent most of their lives digging brought no shine to their lives – only pain, tears and death. #SayTheirNames, remembering some of the men eaten, chewed and spat out by the gold mines: Mokete Bokako has a speech defect which was allegedly caused by complications from silicosis. He worked on South Africa’s gold mines for many years before he was retrenched. He now lives alone in poverty in Roma, Lesotho; Alloys Mncedi Msuthu of Ramafole in the Eastern Cape suffers from silicosis. He was paid R76 000 after he was declared medically incapacitated, but that money was too little to sustain him and his family and to cover medical costs. He now struggles to survive; Mthobeli Gangatha was told to ‘go home and die’ in 2001, when he was 37 years. He now owns a small grocery store in Nkunzimbini village where he comes from; Zwelendaba Mgidi was 23 years old when he left his village of Kwabhala near Flagstaff. He returned home in 2011, aged 52. He was diagnosed with silicosis in 2008, aged 48.

    Author(s):  Lucas Ledwaba & Leon Sadiki

    Available on back-order

  • The Land is Ours R200.00

    The Land Is Ours tells the story of South Africa’s first black lawyers, who operated in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In an age of aggressive colonial expansion, land dispossession and forced labour, these men believed in a constitutional system that respected individual rights and freedoms, and they used the law as an instrument against injustice. The book follows the lives, ideas and careers of Henry Sylvester Williams, Alfred Mangena, Richard Msimang, Pixley ka Isaka Seme, Ngcubu Poswayo and George Montsioa, who were all members of the ANC. It analyses the legal cases they took on, explores how they reconciled the law with the political upheavals of the day, and considers how they sustained their fidelity to the law when legal victories were undermined by politics. The Land Is Ours shows that these lawyers developed the concept of a Bill of Rights, which is now an international norm. The book is particularly relevant in light of current calls to scrap the Constitution and its protections of individual rights: it clearly demonstrates that, from the beginning, the struggle for freedom was based on the idea of the rule of law.

    Author(s): Tembeka Ngcukaitobi

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