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The Backroom Boy

Publish date: 15 May 2017
Issue Number: 725
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: General

The Backroom Boy

Andrew Mlangeni

Wits University Press. R330 

The publication of Andrew Mlangeni’s biography could not have come at a more opportune moment in the historical process. It shares the value of making a contribution to a people’s cause in a classically selfless fashion, without seeking the glory of limelight attendant on leadership positions.  As post-apartheid South Africa evolves in intended and unintended ways, there is much in the process that warrants looking back to analogous moments in history. Such an exercise is not only valuable in enabling us to avoid repeating mistakes of the past, but deepens our understanding of the possibilities of our human agency as individuals and at a collective level.  Through reading a book such as this, we appreciate that, now and again, nations fall into a sore need for hard-nosed historical lessons as they try to pull through strangulating challenges thrown up by periods of socio-political misfortune. In South Africa’s case, where else to turn but the glorious history of the struggle for justice and equality, whose mobilising philosophy constitutes the framework of our shared vision today.

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