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OF WARRIORS, LOVERS AND PROPHETS (article first published : 2004-12-13)

Max du Preez, well-known as a newspaper columnist, is the author of Of Warriors, Lovers and Prophets.

He calls his book “unusual stories from South Africa’s past”. It is not in any sense a formal history but is a highly readable account of some aspects and personalities of South Africa’s story over the past 500 years, going back to the rounding of the Cape by Bartholomeu Dias in 1488.

The themes he has chosen include the first, often violent inter-reaction between the European explorers and the indigenous peoples; the awful brutality of slavery at the Cape in the days of the Dutch East India Company; the iron rule of Shaka and the mystery of his personal characteristics; Gandhi’s activities in South Africa; Siener van Rensburg, “the Boer Nostradamus”; Robey Leibbrandt, the Olympic boxer turned Nazi agent; Winnie Mandela; the great political change of 1994.

This is a rich and varied tapestry. Mr du Preez has done his research well and has constructed an easily digested book that should beguile many readers.

There is nothing startlingly new here, nothing that has not been recorded elsewhere in one form or another. But the assembly of the facts is neat and compelling, and South Africans who do not know the history of their country as well as they should will find this a most informative and entertaining book. Published by Zebra, it retails at R149,95 - Michael Green




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