ReadySteadyBlog

Interesting letter from Paul Trewhela in the Guardian Review at the weekend:


One reads from Mark Curtis ("Voice of the unpeople", June 3) that John Pilger has come to the conclusion that there is a certain "ambiguity" about the heritage of Nelson Mandela in South Africa, and that the government of the African National Congress has presided over the empowerment of a small black elite alongside the continued impoverishment of the majority.

In making these unremarkable observations in his new book, Freedom Next Time, Pilger is merely marching in step with the South African communist party or the veteran South African journalists Stanley Uys and James Myburgh.

My late colleague, Dr Baruch Hirson (Pretoria Prison, 1964-73) and I (Pretoria Prison and the Fort, Johannesburg, 1964-67), anticipated Pilger's observations more than 16 years ago in our journal, Searchlight South Africa (banned there), in article after article. At that time and for a decade-and-a-half afterwards, Pilger's global tribuning of the people had its attention elsewhere. More honest, less ideological, and with no bandwagon to give it attention, is Carol Lee's new book, A Child Called Freedom (Century 2006) published to commemorate the 30th anniversary this month of the Soweto school students' uprising. Anyone interested in conditions of poverty in the "new" South Africa, and the unpleasant fate of those who sought democracy in Soweto and in the ANC in exile, would do better to read this unpretentious book.

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