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Nomavenda Mathiane explains the genesis of her book, Eyes in the Night: An Untold Zulu Story

Eyes in the NightBookstorm has shared an excerpt from Eyes in the Night: An Untold Zulu Story by Nomavenda Mathiane.

In the book Mathiane tells the story of her grandmother, who lived through the gruelling events of the Battle of Isandlwana and through the 1879 Anglo-Zulu War as a young girl.

Her grandmother lived an extraordinary life, but her daughter – Mathiane’s mother – never spoke about it.

In this excerpt, Mathiane begins to explain why her mother kept silence, and how the idea for the book began to germinate in her mind.

Read the extract:


Six months before my mother died, she gave me her mother’s reference book and asked me to get professionals to reconstruct the photograph in the book. She pleaded with me to take good care of it because it was the only photograph she had of her mother. I thought it odd that she should entrust me with the task because she usually assigned important duties to Mzilikazi, my older brother. I took the book from her and chucked it in one of the boxes where I keep important documents and soon forgot all about it.

My mother died in July 2003 in Qunwane, an old rural settlement in the district of Hlabisa in KwaZulu-Natal. Qunwane is a village, like many in that region, populated by people who are steeped in their traditional culture and ways; where generation after generation has been led by the Hlabisa clan and has lived in harmony for years; where a death in one family is mourned by the entire community. One of the traditions strictly observed by this community dictates that as soon as it is known that a member of the community has died, men, women and youngsters busy in their fields will stop work immediately. They will be seen on the road heading back home, carrying their hoes, picks and scythes. Nobody will work in the fields until the deceased has been buried. This practice is to honour the departed and show respect for the ground where the body is to be laid to rest.

The Sunday after Mother’s funeral, when neighbours and acquaintances had left our homestead, the only people who had stayed behind apart from us, her children, were close relatives. They were there to help us with the cleaning of her house and to sort out her personal belongings.

It was a warm winter’s day and we were lazing around eating the food left over from the funeral as well as conducting a post-mortem of the funeral proceedings. My brothers and sisters – there are nine of us, six girls and three boys – were sitting in my mother’s dining room talking about what the speakers at the funeral had said about her. Some of the stories were hilarious while others were downright embarrassing. One speaker told the mourners that Mother boasted about her children and the way they looked after her, that she would say she was not a chimpanzee sitting under a tree wailing. She would tell locals that she had so much money that if she laid the notes on the ground she could walk on them from her house to Nongoma, which is a stretch of about thirty kilometres. Another speaker agreed with the previous speaker, saying she had once casually asked Mother where her son Mzilikazi was teaching and her answer had been: ‘Oh, that one is tired of teaching black children. He is now teaching white kids at the university.’ I mean, how politically incorrect could one be? These were some of the stories with which people at her funeral service had regaled the mourners. Mother was a colourful person, full of love, song and jokes. She was ninety-seven when she died and her send-off was more of a celebration of her life than a funeral.

I was sitting next to my oldest sister Ahh this Sunday morning. Ahh is short for Albertinah. She is my mother’s first-born child. Of all my mother’s children, Sis Ahh is extremely laid back, soft spoken and one of the most gentle people I have ever known.

I turned to her and said: ‘There is something I’ve never understood about Sister J.’ (We called our mother Sister J, her name being Joana.) ‘Do you know why she rarely spoke about her mother? For someone who used to entertain us with stories of OkaBhudu (our paternal granny, her mother-in-law), there was very little she shared with us about her mom. Do you know why?’

I don’t know whether or not I expected an answer. I was partly talking to myself and I was also half listening to the conversation that was taking place around the table.

‘It’s because her mother’s story was filled with too much drama, regret, guilt and, finally, triumph. That is why she did not speak about her mom,’ answered Sis Ahh.

Getting a reply from Sis Ahh surprised me. Her answer came out glibly and matter-of-factly. I paid little attention to it. And yet somehow it lingered in my mind.

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By popular demand: The Disruptors Extended Ebook Edition by Kerryn Krige and Gus Silber out now

The DisruptorsThe Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) has announced the official release of The Disruptors Extended Ebook Edition: Social Entrepreneurs Reinventing Business and Society by Kerryn Krige and Gus Silber.

The Disruptors Extended Ebook Edition is a follow up to the The Disruptors, which was released in March 2016.

Both editions are published by GIBS and Bookstorm, with support from the National Treasury and the government of Flanders, and are authored by Kerryn Krige, head of the GIBS Network for Social Entrepreneurship (GIBS NSE), and award-winning journalist Gus Silber.

“Social entrepreneurship makes sense,” Krige says. “We know that business cannot focus on generating profit alone if it wants to thrive, and our social entrepreneurs show the enormous value of setting up hybrid businesses that generate both social and economic value.”

From GIBS:

The Disruptors Extended Ebook Edition: Social Entrepreneurs Reinventing Business and Society tells the stories of South Africa’s social entrepreneurs, such as Vuyani Dance Theatre’s revolution of township dance and Stacey Brewer and Ryan Harrison’s Spark Schools which are transforming the landscape of affordable, quality education.

The first edition of The Disruptors has already been reprinted in SA and the US after exceeding sales. This extended edition, available as an ebook for Kindle and Kobo, profiles four social entrepreneurs: Trevor Mulaudzi, whose work in sanitation has earned him the nickname the Doctor Shit, Tsonga Shoes’s Peter Maree, early childhood development visionary Jane Evans, and Guy Stubbs whose naked honey, on sale in Dis-Chem, is transforming the lives of communities in Mpumalanga.

Founder and chair of the Women’s Development Bank Trust Zanele Mbeki says in the book’s foreword, “GIBS with its academic and executive programmes in social entrepreneurship and its networks, is the potential catalyst that we need in South Africa to bring big business, government and civil society together.”

The Disruptors Extended Ebook Edition: Social Entrepreneurs Reinventing Business and Society is written in an engaging manner that defies the boundaries of traditional business books. Krige and Silber storify the turning point that led to the creation of the social enterprises and balance this with a compelling academic take that positions the entrepreneur on a social enterprise spectrum.

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‘Donald Trump isn’t a passing fad – he’s a wake-up call to the world’ – Eusebius McKaiser

Run Racist RunCould I Vote DA?A Bantu in My Bathroom

Eusebius McKaiser has written an article titled “The multiple meanings of Donald Trump”.

McKaiser is a political analyst, broadcaster, public speaker and lecturer, and the author of A Bantu In My Bathroom, Could I Vote DA? A Voter’s Dilemma and most recently Run Racist Run: Journeys Into The Heart Of Racism.

Read the article, which was shared by McKaiser on his Facebook Page:

* * * * *

The fact that a deeply misogynistic bigot and racist – call him Donald Trump – can even come this close to being the president of the US is disturbing.

He is ignorant, shameless, casually racist and xenophobic, and we know too now that he brags about assaulting women.

What does it mean that someone of such vicious character could come so close to being president of one of the most powerful and influential countries in the world?

Trump’s political trajectory exposes a lie that many Americans peddle, that theirs is the greatest nation on earth.

It isn’t. There is no “greatest nation on earth”. Such jingoistic sloganeering is aspirational at best, and dangerously egotistical at worst.

Dangerous because that kind of lie can make you feel surprised that a Donald Trump arrives on the political stage. In reality, America is a complex society with plenty of social and political demons it has yet to slay before any hyperbolic claims to greatness could even be half entertained.

Trump represents the worst of American society. If the idea of an American dream is hopeful, Trump symbolises the American nightmare.

But it would be a mistake to render him exceptional. Clearly, there’s a political market for bigotry, ignorance, misogyny and xenophobia.

And that is the meaning of Donald Trump that Americans will have to come to terms with. Politics is a popularity contest. And the rise of any particular politician or their ideological convictions tell you something about the political market within which they are succeeding.

Sure, he’s unlikely to actually become the next American president, but that doesn’t mean that any progressive citizen can relax and simply wait for the news cycle to move on after the presidential race has come and gone.

The social, political and discursive conditions that oxygenated the Trump campaign will remain for a long while still.

These range from people who feel disillusioned with mainstream politics, bigots with whom the Trump message resonates, patriarchs who secretly share his muscular display of misogyny, and segments of white working-class America that rightly or wrongly feels they are at the margins of society.

And that’s the ugly truth: democracy isn’t a bulwark against discontent. In all democracies there are winners and losers.

And American society is no different. It has multiple losers, from women who have to witness the rise of Trumpian misogyny, black people hunted by agents of racist institutions like the police force, immigrant families treated like temporary sojourners, and yes working-class and poor white folk who don’t know what it means in real material terms to live the American dream.

The winners are big business, famous families like the Clintons and the Bushes, and the beneficiaries of social networks that are sophisticated, deeply entrenched, and exclusionary.

This means that Trump isn’t a passing fad. Trump is a wake-up call to the world that liberal democracy is in crisis.

That too is the meaning of Trump. Trump could have been a right-wing politician in Western Europe. Trump could have been a leading campaigner for Brexit in the UK. Trump could have been an Australian prime minister keeping out boats of immigrants.

Trump represents an international reality we’ve yet to dramatise with the requisite urgency it demands.

That reality is that vile predatory politicians and faux politicians will prey on the discontent felt and experienced by millions of citizens who are losing faith in liberal democracy.

And there will be a market for Trump and future Trumps for as long as we delay a critical and honest conversation about the range of everyday, and structural, injustices that proliferate in democracies. We’re so busy trying to deliver the democratic model to undemocratic countries that we’ve fetishised democracy.

Not that there’s a better political system. But democracy doesn’t guarantee justice. And if we don’t centre justice in public discourse then democracy will continue to be under threat. And Trump will continue to be a successful predator.

Related stories:

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  • A Bantu in My Bathroom: Debating Race, Sexuality and Other Uncomfortable South African Topics by Eusebius McKaiser
    EAN: 9781920434373
    Find this book with BOOK Finder!

Join some of our greatest social entrepreneurs for the launch of The Disruptors in Port Elizabeth

Invitation to the launch of The Disruptors

The Disruptors: Social Entrepreneurs Reinventing Business and SocietyThe Gordon Institute of Business Science and Bookstorm invite you to the Port Elizabeth launch of Kerryn Krige and Gus Silber’s new book, The Disruptors: Social Entrepreneurs Reinventing Business and Society.

Join the authors and some of South Africa’s greatest social entrepreneurs as they share insight into their organisations, what drives them and sustains them.

The event will take place on Friday, 28 October at the GFI Art Gallery. Don’t miss it!

Event Details

  • Date: Friday, 28 October 2016
  • Time: 5:30 PM for 6:00 PM
  • Venue: GFI Art Gallery (previously known as Ron Belling)
    30 Park Dr.
    Port Elizabeth | Map
  • RSVP: Kovashni Gordhan,, 083 222 5781

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‘Afro capitalist at the helm’ – The Economist profiles Herman Mashaba

Capitalist CrusaderBlack Like YouJohannesburg’s new mayor Herman Mashaba was profiled in The Economist recently.

Mashaba is the founder of Black Like Me, the author of the books Black Like You and Capitalist Crusader: Fighting Poverty Through Economic Growth, and former chairperson of the Free Market Foundation.

He tells The Economist that being mayor was the last job he ever wanted, but was won over by the Democratic Alliance, the party he joined in 2014 after becoming “frustrated with the ANC’s corruption under President Jacob Zuma”.

Read the article:

Mr Mashaba, 57, calls himself the “Capitalist Crusader” (the title of a book he published last year). Among South African politicians he is a rare breed: a scrappy self-made millionaire, a libertarian and a capitalist in a country so left-leaning that even the finance minister is a former member of the communist party. Mr Mashaba, who hates red tape and statism, decries the “culture of dependency” that has developed under the African National Congress (ANC), which has ruled since the first democratic elections in 1994. He criticises the party’s racial affirmative-action policies and is against a proposed national minimum wage, calling it “an evil system” designed to prevent the poor from advancing. “The ANC’s corrupt patronage policies have killed entrepreneurship,” he says.

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Eusebius McKaiser explains why the hair policy debate is not just about hair

Run Racist RunCould I Vote DA?A Bantu in My Bathroom


Eusebius McKaiser’s latest piece for The Star is a reflection on “the hidden curriculum” at former whites-only schools.

In the column McKaiser recalls making a speech Pretoria Boys’ High School valediction service in 2003. He points out the school’s proud academic and sporting history, and praises the speech made by the headmaster on the night, in which he urged the students to “think through their unearned privileges”.

However, one aspect of the event stuck in McKaiser’s craw: The Trebot Barry Award, which was “awarded to the boy whose home language is not English and yet has embraced the values and ethos of our school”.

This, McKaiser says, is why the hair policy debate that started at Pretoria Girls’ High cannot “be reduced to hair”.

“It’s about linguistic apartheid, cultural hegemony, and keeping value pluralism outside the school gates, while pretending that a school magazine picture of black and white learners huddled together suffices as evidence of inclusivity,” he says.

Read on:

Book details

  • A Bantu in My Bathroom: Debating Race, Sexuality and Other Uncomfortable South African Topics by Eusebius McKaiser
    EAN: 9781920434373
    Find this book with BOOK Finder!

‘It’s now time to get Johannesburg working again’ – Read Herman Mashaba’s first mayoral statement

Capitalist CrusaderBlack Like YouThe Democratic Alliance’s (DA) Herman Mashaba was elected as executive mayor for the City of Johannesburg on Monday night.

Mashaba is a millionaire who founded the company Black Like Me, and the author of the books Black Like You and Capitalist Crusader: Fighting Poverty Through Economic Growth. He also served as chairperson of the Free Market Foundation and is a strong believer in free enterprise and the noninvolvement of the state in the economy – views that put him at odds with the leftist EFF‚ which believes in the setting of a national minimum wage‚ among other things.

In December last year Mashaba announced that he was making himself available as Joburg’s mayoral candidate for the DA.

His first official statement as leader of the city was released on Tuesday‚ and follows below in full:

“I am honoured and deeply humbled to be elected as the new Executive Mayor of Johannesburg.

“The residents of our city called out for change that would once again get Johannesburg working again. It is a mandate we dare not fail to deliver on.

“It is important to note that no single party holds a majority in the Johannesburg City Council.

“The people have chosen a diverse group of parties to lead them. The new administration has partners and I thank them for their support. I especially thank the EFF for placing their trust in me to lead this city.

“Now is not the time for political squabbles. We face great challenges that no party can confront on its own. It is time for all of us to roll up our sleeves and get working.

“Because if Johannesburg works‚ South Africa works.

“But before we start I need to ask the people of Johannesburg for patience. The truth is that there are no short cuts.

“It is going to take time to correct the mismanagement and decay that has resulted in worsening service delivery.

“We need to start from basics and step by step build a city we can all be proud of.

“The DA has a positive vision and plan for this city.

“Our vision is centred around our promise to create jobs‚ deliver better services and eliminate corruption from this administration.

“No one can deny that the biggest challenge facing our city is the soaring unemployment confronting over 800 000 people.

“Job creation will be the number one priority of the new administration.

“We understand that the actual role of local government in job-creation‚ is to create an enabling environment for businesses to establish themselves‚ flourish‚ and thereby create permanent jobs.

“Small businesses will be my best friends. Small businesses create jobs and that is why small business development will be the focus of my term in office.

“I want Johannesburg to be a city that empowers young entrepreneurs so they are given every opportunity to succeed.

“A city that creates an environment where poor people are afforded the opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty and make a success of themselves‚ as I did all those years ago.

“The days of requiring a political party’s membership card to get an EPWP job are over.

“One of our top priorities is to professionalise the public service by hiring the very best people to run a city that attracts investment and creates jobs.

“We will conduct a skills audit of the City of Joburg’s employees to ensure that all are properly qualified for the roles they are in.

“Residents have been plagued by a civil service that has offered lackluster and frankly‚ disgraceful service. Civil servants need to understand that they are there to serve the people of Johannesburg and not the other way around.

“None of us can rest while hundreds of thousands of families in Johannesburg suffer in abject poverty and without even the most basic of services.

“This administration will prioritise the upgrading of informal settlements and townships such as Zandspruit and Alexandra. We will work tirelessly to provide decent services and help lift people out of poverty.

“As of last night‚ corruption has been declared public enemy number one in the City of Johannesburg.

“We will conduct a full forensic audit of the City’s finances and administrative structures. This will include all tenders currently awarded.

“There was over R5-billion in unauthorised‚ irregular‚ fruitless and wasteful expenditure over the last administration’s term in office. This will simply not be tolerated under the new administration and any case of wrongdoing will be exposed and punished.

“It is time for all of us to put our political differences aside and work together with a shared vision for the improvement of the lives of our city’s residents‚ especially the poorest residents of our city.

“The future of our city and country depend on it.

“Because if Johannesburg works‚ South Africa works.

“Together we will bring change to the City of Johannesburg.

“Together we will bring change that creates jobs‚ delivers better services and fights corruption.

“Together we will make this a city of golden opportunities.”

TMG Digital

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Herman Mashaba remains DA mayoral candidate despite EFF request for change

Capitalist CrusaderBlack Like YouThe Democratic Alliance has declined a request by the Economic Freedom Fighters to change its mayoral candidate in Johannesburg‚ Herman Mashaba‚ in exchange for its vote in the metro.

The EFF said it would vote with the DA in all metros but that this was conditional in Johannesburg. The condition was for the DA to rethink placing Mashaba at the helm of the metro.

But the DA has declined – meaning it will not receive the EFF’s vote in Johannesburg. The EFF’s vote would have placed the DA in the majority in the metro.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane said voters chose Mashaba as their candidate and the party could not undermine that. However‚ as Saturday is the deadline for coalition-making‚ there is still time for the ANC and the EFF to continue with negotiations.

Mashaba is a millionaire who founded the company Black Like Me, and the author of the books Black Like You and Capitalist Crusader: Fighting Poverty Through Economic Growth. He also served as chairperson of the Free Market Foundation and is a strong believer in free enterprise and the noninvolvement of the state in the economy – views that put him at odds with the leftist EFF‚ which believes in the setting of a national minimum wage‚ among other things.

TMG Digital/BDlive

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‘Interference with journalists at the SABC is even worse than the public would know’ – Eusebius McKaiser

Eusebius McKaiser has written an extensive analysis of the current situation at the SABC.

Eight journalists who dismissed by the public broadcaster on Thursday, saying they failed to abide by the new editorial policy.

The dismissed journalists, Foeta Krige, Thandeka Gqubule, Suna Venter, Busisiwe Ntuli, Krivani Pillay, Lukhanyo Calata, Jacques Steenkamp and Vuyo Mvoko, claim the policy amounts to censorship.

Run Racist RunCould I Vote DA?A Bantu in My Bathroom


Read McKaiser’s thoughts:


Interference with journalists at the SABC is even worse than the public would know. The latest journalist, of the SABC 8 group, who is fighting for his labour rights to be respected is Vuyo Mvoko. Essentially what the SABC did is to say that they won’t ‘schedule’ him – SABC lingo for being taken off the air – which is their way of ensuring that, as an independent contractor, he won’t be able to get paid because he won’t be able to invoice for payments given that he is not on air currently. In addition to that he was, rather ominously, asked to give REASONS why his contract should not be terminated. So the papers served on the SABC today, and which will be filed tomorrow in the high court (as in on Friday, 22 July), is an attempt to ensure Mvoko gets ‘scheduled’ and doesn’t lose income.

But here’s the juicy, and disturbing, thing: There is a long pattern of interference with the work of journalists at the SABC and Hlaudi Motsoeneng isn’t the only one who is a dictator. Motsoeneng has, if this founding affidavit is to be believed (and I definitely believe Mvoko, not least because he is a journalist and human being of impeccable integrity, and a friend I can and do vouch for), several willing helpers who ensure that the space is closed down for good journalism. Here are some examples from the affidavit:

1. Jimi Matthews – now trying to be a belatedly morally upright friend of journalists – pulled Mvoko’s show, On The Record, because Matthews was pissed off that Mvoko interviewed Thuli Madonsela. (CLEARLY, Matthews contributed to the very ‘corrosive atmosphere’ he described in his resignation letter). Matthews EVEN wanted Mvoko to be disciplined for telling his viewers, via Twitter, that the show won’t be shown. [Nothing in the narration of this incident in the affidavit mentions Motsoeneng. This is important. Because, as odious as Motsoeneng is, the truth is that individuals like Matthews had AGENCY and chose to exercise it in a manner inconsistent with the mandate of the public broadcaster and inconsistent with journalistic and managerial integrity more generally.]

2. Sophie Mokoena, as Acting Political Editor, came to tell Mvoko that Motsoeneng is upset that Mvoko had said, on air, during the launch of the DA manifesto, that the DA regards the ANC as being at its most vulnerable, electorally. He was told by Mokoena that Motsoeneng scrutinises ‘each and every word’. [The implication is obvious: A chilling effect to dissuade journalists from saying anything on air that is even vaguely perceived to be critical of the ANC.]

3. Nothando Maseko wanted to possibly can an interview that Mvoko did with President Zuma in Rustenburg at the January 8th (2016) rally of the ANC because Mvoko had asked the president a question about the firing of former finance minister (Nene); theyonly showed the interview when it was obvious, as Mvoko pointed out, that similar broadcasts on ANN7 and eNCA included interviews in which the president had, at any rate, been asked to opine on the same issue. [Again, the implication is obvious: The journalist is here being encouraged, in a rather unsubtle way, to NOT ask the president hard questions even if the questions are newsworthy and in the public interest.]

4. A worse example of such protection of president Zuma played out in 2015 when the SABC actually chose to NOT air part of an interview in which Mvoko had asked the president how he – the president – would respond if a) the minister of police had been untruthful about Robert McBride or Anwar Dramat; and b) asked the president a question about the possible negative effects on foreign investment that a policy of limited (local) land ownership by foreign nationals. [The president, recalls Mvoko roughly, said that the minister would be ‘deal with’ in such a scenario (on the McBride/Dramat question), and, in respect of the land issue, said that foreign investors are free to leave the country. Maseko informed Mvoko that the presidency requested that these answers by Zuma should not be aired, and the SABC agreed, and so never broadcast those parts of the pre-recorded interview.]

The bottom line is that the pattern of censorship, and political manipulation of content to suit Zuma in particular, is therefore not new, despite the feeling, perhaps, that the focus on the SABC is rather sudden. Also, Motsoeneng is ONE of the folks at the SABC responsible for this rot but, frankly, he gets lots of help from those willing to execute this evil plan to use the SABC for party political purposes.

The refusal to ‘schedule’ Mvoko isn’t a good faith decision in the normal course of deciding who is best to have on air right now in terms of elections coverage. Mvoko is OBVIOUSLY the most experienced broadcaster they currently have in terms of the elections beat. The real reason for the refusal to have him on air is simple: He does his job with no regard for party political biases (or factional interests withi the ruling party) and that doesn’t serve the agenda of the likes of Matthews (prior to his resignation) or Motsoeneng or the generals (Mokoena that they have appointed to various managerial positions.

I hope Mvoko wins in the high court. But even if he doesn’t, it is fantastic that open court processes allow us to further scrutinise what is going on inside an important public institution.
Be vigilant, active citizen.

Book details

  • A Bantu in My Bathroom: Debating Race, Sexuality and Other Uncomfortable South African Topics by Eusebius McKaiser
    EAN: 9781920434373
    Find this book with BOOK Finder!

Stephen Grootes quizzes Patrick Craven at the launch of The Battle For Cosatu: An Insider’s View

The Battle For CosatuThere were many contentious and interesting discussions at the launch of former Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) spokesperson Patrick Craven’s book The Battle for Cosatu at Exclusive Books in Rosebank recently.

Stephen Grootes was the suitable choice to interview Craven, as what was clearly visible from the get go was the deep admiration and respect between the two men, despite the fact that they have different worldviews on what the best economic system is.

As Grootes explained, “This is where [Craven] and I differ: I believe in well-regulated capitalism I see capitalism as the only way to get people out of poverty.”

He continued: “Patrick Craven, why am I wrong?”

Craven replied that there has never been a better time in history to show how capitalism has failed.

In the book, Craven writes about the last five tumultuous years of Cosatu, leading up to the expulsion of Numsa and Zwelinzima Vavi.

Grootes asked many other hard-hitting questions, including “What happened to Cosatu?” and “Why did you resign?”, which Craven tackled with honesty and forthrightness.

Specifically of interest was Craven’s political analysis of what is going to happen in the local elections. “Sadly,” he said, “there will be no fundamental shift.”

Jennifer Platt (@Jenniferdplatt) tweeted live from the event:

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