- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Verso (September 4, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1859845452
- ISBN-13: 978-1859845455
- Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 0.2 x 0.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,966,520 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Unfinished Business: South Africa, Apartheid and Truth Hardcover – September 17, 2003
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“A well-researched and brilliant expose of the apartheid system.”—City Press
“A brilliant and important book that should be read by everybody interested in the truth behind the ’truth and reconciliation’ hype of the new South Africa. In the finest traditions of fearless, independent journalism, Terry Bell reveals the cover-ups and charades that allowed the shock troops of apartheid to get away with a crime against humanity.”—John Pilger
“Incredibly illuminating ... woven together into a narrative with great skill.”—Mahmood Mamdani
“During the apartheid era in South Africa, the ruthless security apparatus of the state committed crimes against humanity, invaded and destabilised neighboring states, stymied the future of generations of black Africans; and they continue to wield considerable power. Unfinished Business is a startling and revealing account of the rise and fall of a doomed system of racial domination and raises questions about the fate of the new South Africa.”—Linton Kwesi Johnson
About the Author
Terry Bell is a Cape Town-based freelance writer, columnist and editor who was banned and in exile from South Africa for twenty-seven years.
Dumisa Buhle Ntsebeza now practices as an advocate in Cape Town and is a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law and History at the University of Connecticut.
Top customer reviews
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My issues with this book are several-fold. Firstly, the writing style is dry, a bit repetitive, and lacks flow. The book is slow and plodding at times, and has difficulty maintaining a logical and thematic focus within chapters. In this, it is difficult to read, especially considering the author is supposed to be a journalist/writer.
The book also seems to have trouble in it is not sure where it wants to go. It often mentions issues or events that it believes should have been covered at the TRC, but buries them amidst chapters on an entirely different topic. To this end, the book feels to be a failure, as it never makes a compelling, and more pressingly, cohesive argument on what exactly it feels the TRC should have covered that it did not and why. This becomes a glaring oversight when once considers the TRC report is thousands of pages, and this book maxes out at about 300. To paint the Commission with such a uncomplimentary brush - especially when one of the authors was involved with it - seems unfair without considerable explanation. Returning to the issue of focus, the reader eventually comes to understand that the authors feels the architects of apartheid should have been held to greater task, this is all well and good, but hardly a shocking conclusion. One wonders what they hoped to accomplish here. Certainly, the book has no legal ability to force this issue, but neither did the TRC, again asking what they expected the commission to do. This is especially true when one actually reads the TRC report and realize that it hopes to primarily focus on the individual acts and trevails of the apartheid era as opposed to widespread condemnation of the system of apartheid and its leadership - a process that had been well covered and indeed, without which the system would have never been overcome in the first place. That the authors want more to be done to the former leadership of the nation, their questions and exasperation should be aimed at the current ANC government, not a non-judicial commission of inquiry with an already dizzying mandate to fulfill.
More concerning is the lack of simple commitment to unbiased discussion of the unfinished business of the apartheid era. The book covers the struggle against the system with the same uncomplicated "good vs. evil" terms as the apartheid system painted their struggle against the resistance movements. At best it casts significant doubt on the intellectual honesty of the book, and at worst enjoins the reader to invalidate much of the books content due to the avowed, but unspoken bias it carries. Perhaps the most glaring moment of the book is when the authors indignantly discuss the humiliation and injustice heaped on Winnie Madikizela-Mandela when she has been banished. There is not even the most scant acknowledgement of her supposed involvement in the Mandela United Football Club allegations laid out by the TRC and which earned Ms. Madikezela-Mandela considerable condemnation from fellow TRC member Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela. The fact that there are no discussion or judgment passed of the trespasses of the ANC, APLA, or other resistance movements gives credence to those who would want to invalidate the entire content of the book. To this end, the authors negate much of the weight that they attempt to give their text except to those predisposed to regard it as unqualified truth.
Overall, this book is not a bad book. The content is somewhat worthwhile and bears note. The fact that the abuses by both sides have been covered in greater depth and with greater honestly in other texts, makes it difficult to recommend it on anything other than its price and availability.
READ IT AND WEEP! But ..."You gotta have a bullet-proof soul."
-Shadea. GO AHEAD...READ IT: "You shall know the truth...and the truth shall make you free." -Bible. Then, let us do the right thing...finally: REPARATIONS; LAND&WEALTH REDISTRIBUTION; RESTORATIVE JUSTICE! Let's not let the work of these two BRAVE WARRIORS be wasted for a moment. Not one word. Not one moment. "GO AHEAD ... READ IT! And,then...WORK4AZANIA...AZANIA...This is where we shall meet! Some day. Maybe one-day-sooner due to our attention to the "Unfinished Business" of South Africa and the world community envisioned by Bell and Ntzebeza.
Meet me there. -Azaniaphile