No Bread for Mandela: Memoirs of Ahmed Kathrada, Prisoner No. 468/64

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Outraged by the inequities of apartheid and unwilling to concede defeat even while imprisoned, Ahmed Kathrada never lost faith in his nation's struggle for peace, justice, and reconciliation. No Bread for Mandela tells the remarkable story of Kathrada's dedication and continuing activism on behalf of South Africa.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"An amazingly detailed version of his journey to the heart of anti-apartheid politics."--H-Net Review" --

Library Journal
For more than a quarter century Kathrada was imprisoned owing to his conviction that South Africa's apartheid regime was an affront to basic human rights. His memoir, originally published in South Africa in 2004, has been updated for U.S. publication. Kathrada, of Indian descent, views the struggle against apartheid as a man who is neither black nor white. The first part of the book contains a riveting account of the life of this political activist who was forced underground to continue the struggle. After capture and trial in 1964, he spent many years on Robben Island with Nelson Mandela and other leaders of the South African political opposition. Kathrada relates that in 1989, after 25 years of isolation in jail, he was told that the prison warden had received a fax ordering his release. Kathrada's first response after hearing this wonderful news was simply, "What is a fax?" VERDICT Kathrada's memoir is a vivid behind-the-scenes look at the life of a political activist and prisoner, with a few pages at the end devoted to his life after release. It is highly recommend for students of history, race relations, and political science.—Robert Bruce Slater, Stroudsburg, PA
Kirkus Reviews

Anti-apartheid political prisoner Kathrada examines his actions and the aftermath that resulted in 30 years of imprisonment.

The author offers a unique behind-the-scenes view of South Africa's apartheid struggles. After being misidentified as an antigovernment militant, Kathrada was imprisoned alongside the country's future leaders, including future president Nelson Mandela. In Mandela's introduction, he notes his and Kathrada's interconnected stories, how "the telling of one without the voice of the other being heard somewhere would have led to an incomplete narrative."While Mandela's political success has allowed his name to become far more recognizable throughout the world, Kathrada's literary contribution reveals a much-needed layer of history of both men's experiences. The author gives the reader a glimpsebehind the prison door, but also offers a historical perspective of the fierceness of the South African race problem. In one memorable scene, Kathrada described placing an inebriated political enemy in a compromising situation involving a prostitute. However, once the pictures were snapped and the evidence gathered, he brought them to Mandela who, rather than encouraging their publication, helped Kathrada weigh the moral cost of destroying a man's career simply for disagreeing with his politics. After much reflection, Kathrada destroyed the incriminating photos, sparing the man his much-deserved shame while revealing an instance of rare civility when none was ever offered to him.

An intimate, welcome first-person account of a portion of South African history that remains foggy to many American readers.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813133751
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
  • Publication date: 3/1/2011
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 1,007,329
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Ahmed Kathrada was born in South Africa in 1929. After his release from prison in 1989, he was elected as a member of parliament and served as parliamentary counsellor in to President Mandela. In 1994, he was elected chairperson of the Robben Island Council. He lives in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

Foreword Nelson Mandela xi

Foreword Arthur Chaskalson xiii

Preface to the American Edition xv

Preface xix

Acknowledgements xxii

Abbreviations xiv

Prologue 1

Part I Early Life of a 'Saboteur' 17

1 A Boy from Schweizer 19

2 The Dadoo Factor 27

3 Awareness Deepens 41

4 A Luta Continua 65

5 Oppression Knows No Boundaries 87

6 Defiance 97

7 Congress of the People, Permits and Prison 109

8 We Stand By Our Leaders 121

9 High Roads and Low Ebbs 145

Part II Another Terrain of the Struggle 163

10 The Rivonia Trial 165

11 Outpost of Oppression 195

12 Islands in Time 223

13 The Bad Years 243

14 By Stealth and Subterfuge 255

15 Changing Times 275

16 Leading Questions 287

17 Thoughts About Jail 299

18 Pollsmoor 309

19 Last Steps to Freedom 323

20 A Crime Against Humanity 335

Part III The End of the Long Walk 343

21 Going Home 345

22 Our Brave New World 359

Epilogue 367

Appendix 1 Brief Biographical Overview 373

Appendix 2 Senior Officers at Robben Island Jail and Pollsmoor Prison 377

Notes 379

Select Bibliography 387

Index 391

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