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I was horrified to hear that thugs had disrupted Pieter-Louis Myburgh’s launch of Gangster State — Unravelling Ace Magashule’s Web of Capture at Exclusive Books. Horrified, because they claimed to represent the party that spent decades fighting to achieve fundamental rights such as freedom of expression. My horror was made worse when I heard the Free State ANC Youth League’s representative promoting burning the book. I went to Exclusive Books where the manager told me that she had, out of fear, removed the shop-front display promoting the book. A few books were displayed behind the payment counter and the rest were locked away in the storeroom for safekeeping. The thugs had achieved their objective. I thought back to the 1980s, when my late father worked in Maputo and the rest of the family lived in Swaziland. He would regularly return with books, pamphlets and music cassette tapes the apartheid government had banned and explain that this was because they did not want to face the...

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