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Drinking with ghosts

Revisiting apartheid’s dirty war
Publisher: Best Red
Availability:in stock 1000 item(s)
Width: 216CM
Height: 138CM
R280,00

About the book

Drinking with Ghosts: Revisiting Apartheid’s Dirty War is a fascinating exploration of the dark corners of South Africa’s past by a veteran journalist. Michael Schmidt’s revelations move from South Africa’s nuclear programme under apartheid to the problems of today’s deeply unequal society, tracing the threads of secrecy, privilege and the violence that is needed to maintain it. The book is also a testament to Schmidt’s career as a journalist: his dedicated and uncompromising quest to uncover the truth of what he finds shines through on every page.

Drinking with Ghosts illuminates both past and present and is an invaluable contribution to understanding what South Africa is today. It is also written with verve and passion and is an unputdownable read.
– Hamilton Wende

Now this is real journalism. Informative, authoritative, properly contextualised, exceptionally well written. Schmidt is a great storyteller with a keen eye for detail. The best 'reporter's notebook' I've ever read.
– Max du Preez, author of Pale Native

About the author

Michael Schmidt is an investigative journalist, anarchist militant, free press activist and published historian. Born in 1966 in Johannesburg and raised by a middle-class white family during the onset of the armed struggle and the Bush War in Southern Africa, he was drafted into the apartheid Army and served more than two years during the Insurrection. The experience – which included his accidental discovery in 1985 that the world’s last white supremacist state possessed nuclear weapons – radicalised him and he later became a conscientious objector, being forced to face a military tribunal in Pretoria in 1991 chaired by a Supreme Court judge, for refusing to serve further.

Over subsequent decades, his journalism and his activism took him “behind the curtain” of the transition in South Africa from autocracy to democracy, exploring the impact of the Cold War’s end on sub-Saharan Africa, including the continent’s war-zones, from Lesotho and Mozambique to the former Zaire and Darfur. His path lead him to challenge the dominant liberal / progressive narrative of a “peaceful transition” in the region and to substitute for that a narrative of an often-bloody, hotly-contested continuity in which Nelson Mandela’s ANC fulfilled the long-term strategic neoliberal objectives of their old apartheid enemies, and in which democratic South Africa, the world’s most unequal society, plays a sub-imperialist continental role.

He is the co-author, with Prof Lucien van der Walt, of Black Flame: the Revolutionary Class Politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism (USA, 2009), and the author of Cartography of Revolutionary Anarchism (USA, 2013). The founder of the Professional Journalists’ Association of South Africa, and of The Ulu Club for Southern African Conflict Journalists, he today directs the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism, is working on an international multimedia project on massacre and memory with Lebanese writer Rasha Salti, and continues to write for the mainstream and alternative press.

Contents

Acronyms
Dedication
Acknowledgements
FOREBODING
Chapter 1: The terrorist impulse of the Dirty War

PART 1: UNHALE RADIANCE: THE AFRICAN ATOMIC BOMB
Chapter 2: Seeking the Holy of Holies
Chapter 3: The rogue proliferators
Coda: Temptation of the spooks

PART 2: A FUNNY SMELL: BIOCHEMWAR AND THE DEATH SQUADS
Chapter 4: A bone-deep chill
Chapter 5: The chemistry set
Chapter 6: Plausible deniability: Proxy war
Coda: Birds of a feather

PART 3: THE LONG SHADOW: EXPORTING WAR. . . AND PEACE
Chapter 7: The chief is dead: Dividends of the Bush War
Chapter 8: Neighbourhood bully. . . or Bravo?
Chapter 9: Terrorists and horseshoes
Coda: Springboard

PART 4: FORENSIC MEDITATIONS: MASSACRE AND MEMORY
Chapter 10: Murder at arm’s length
Chapter 11: Murder up close
Chapter 12: Let this cup pass
Chapter 13: Homegrown homicide
Coda: Homecoming

PART 5: EPITAPH: BREAKING OUR PACT OF FORGETTING
Chapter 14: Paper holocausts
Chapter 15: Drums of bones
Coda: The daylight or the ghosts?