The wonderful and interesting thing about Moeletsi Mbeki’s work is how he places our situation within the broad sweep of history, avoiding the tendency of so many political commentators to attribute a disproportionate significance to current political events. Mbeki likes to analyse politics and the economy in an epochal way. It is what makes his work valuable, but also a little abstract and difficult to translate into what it might mean for you, me and President Jacob Zuma, for example, in the next year or two. His latest book, co-written with his niece, Nobantu Mbeki, is an attempt to extract from historical experience a practical call to action “to save SA”. In A Manifesto for Social Change, the Mbekis set out to make the case for how SA can be diverted from the path on which it is set: a violent showdown between the black poor and the government, in which the state will grow increasingly repressive as the governing elite seek to hold onto power. Most reviews of the book focus on ...

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