The Backroom Boy

Andrew Mlangeni’s Story
Author(s):
  • Publication Date: April 2017
  • Dimensions and Pages: 229 x 152mm; 232 pp; Softcover
  • Paperback EAN: 978-1-77614-086-2
  • eBook EAN: 978-1-77614-088-6 (North and South America, China); 978-1-77614-089-3 (Rest of world)
  • PDF EAN: 978-1-77614-087-9
  • Rights: World
  • Recommended Price (ZAR): 320.00
  • Recommended Price (USD): 34.95

Foreword by Kgalema Motlanthe

Backroom Boy is a riveting account of a long life in the struggle for freedom both before and after the attainment of democracy in 1994. It is a living account of the many turns and twists in the life of a cadre in the centre, but backstage of the struggle for freedom in South Africa.
— Siphamandla Zondi, professor and head of the school of Political Science at University of Pretoria

This book is a valuable and dependable source book to ANC and MK (uMkhonto we Sizwe ) history with a lot of factual  information that would not be known to the general reader.
— Albie Sachs, retired Constitutional Court judge and author of We, the People: Insights of an activist judge

 

It probably took a fraction of a second from the knock – a single bang – to the opening of the door and the entry of an unexpected visitor into the room. They had just fi nished their lunch. The unannounced visitor … simply pretended that everything was normal. There he stood – unfazed and somehow gigantic in his presence. The room had suddenly been invaded by a man who was to be a landmark in the lives of the trainees …

The book opens in China, 1962. Andrew Mlangeni is one of a small select group undergoing military training. The unannounced visitor is Mao Tse-Tung.
While still at school, Andrew Mlangeni joined the Communist Party of South Africa and also the ANC Youth League. These were the organisations that shaped his values. Decades of resourceful activism were to lead to his arrest and life sentence in the Rivonia trial.
Mlangeni’s lifelong commitment to the struggle for liberation reverberates with other biographies of leading figures. His perspective comes from a somewhat ambiguous position in the hierarchy of liberation leaders. Mlangeni was selected as one of the first-ever six members who received military training in China before the formation of Umkhonto we Sizwe. He seems to have been chosen because he was a dedicated, intelligent and dependable operative, rather than a leader. Even after his release after 25 years on Robben Island, Mlangeni was not given a senior position in the post-apartheid democratic government. ‘I was always the backroom boy,’ says Andrew Mlangeni about himself.
This story of an ANC elder is a rigorously researched historical record overlaid with intensely personal reflections which intersect
with the political narrative. Above all, it is one man’s story, set in the maelstrom of the liberation struggle.
This biographical project has been developed for, and published in conjunction with, the June and Andrew Mlangeni Foundation.

Acknowledgements
Foreword
Introduction
CHAPTER 1 1962, China
CHAPTER 2 1961, The road to China
CHAPTER 3 1944, Conscientisation
CHAPTER 4 1931, Beginnings
CHAPTER 5 1949, Work, marriage, political activity
CHAPTER 6 1963, ‘Rev Mokete Mokoena’
CHAPTER 7 1963, Trial and conviction
CHAPTER 8 1964, Prisoner 467/64
CHAPTER 9 1977, Prison life, family life
CHAPTER 10 1982, Keeping track of the struggle
CHAPTER 11 1985, ‘Freedom was in sight.’
CHAPTER 12 1990, the start of a new life
CONCLUSION
Interviews undertaken for this book
Letters

Mandla Mathebula was commissioned by the June and Andrew Mlangeni Foundation to write the biography of Andrew Mlangeni. He is a communications practitioner and public servant working at present as chief communications director for the Ministry of Water and Environmental Affairs. He is a historian and has written extensively on Tsonga history. His book 800 Years of Tsonga History was published in 2014.

Backroom Boy is a riveting account of a long life in the struggle for freedom both before and after the attainment of  democracy in 1994. It is a living account of the many turns and twists in the life of a cadre in the centre, but backstage of the struggle for freedom in South Africa.
— Siphamandla Zondi, professor and head of the school of Political Science at University of Pretoria

This book is a valuable and dependable source book to ANC and MK (uMkhonto we Sizwe ) history with a lot of factual  information that would not be known to the general reader.
— Albie Sachs, retired Constitutional Court judge and author of We, the People: Insights of an activist judge

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