Book reviews

Addressing the audience at a concert by Artists Against Apartheid at the Norwegian National Theatre, Govan Mbeki said, “It is a privilege and an honour to attend tonight’s concert entitled ‘Skjebnetime’. In Xhosa we say ‘Limpondo Zankomo’, and in English ‘The Dawn’. It is a most appropriate title since we are at the dawn of the threshold of change in South Africa.”

Thandi Lujabe-Rankoe with Govan Mbeki, one of the ANC’s most respected struggle stalwarts on the long road to democracy, on the occasion of the 79th Anniversary of the ANC, on 6th January 1991.

A Dream Fulfilled
Memoirs of an African Diplomat

by Thandi Lujabe-Rankoe

This remarkable book by Thandi Lujabe-Rankoe tells the deeply moving story of a life lived to the full, from her early childhood and teenage years in the Eastern Cape through the long period of exile during the political struggle, and finally to her years of dedicated service as a diplomat in Norway, Tanzania and Mozambique.

Extracts from the Foreword by Nelson Mandela

"As we celebrate 50 years of the Freedom Charter, 50 years since the historic march by women on Pretoria, not forgetting the 30 years since the shameful massacre of unarmed schoolchildren in 1976, it is fitting that we remember and acknowledge the formations and individuals that made all of this possible.

"One of these is, of course, Thandi Lujabe-Rankoe, the subject of this fine and authoritative autobiography, which outlines for us, in sometimes uncompromising terms, the journey taken by herself – and by extension a whole swathe of humanity – from the cauldron of apartheid, through various postings in exile to a triumphant though demanding return to the native land."

To quote former President Nelson Mandela in the closing words of the Foreword, "A quiet, unassuming though single-minded woman, Thandi represents the best that any country can offer. I urge you to read this book as it will not only inform you but will become one of the most important records of the invincibility of the human spirit."

- Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa

Extracts from An Appreciation by Ambassador Jaafar Msolomi

In this personal appreciation of the book, Ambassador Msolomi examined through the eyes of the author "…the unacceptable plight of the black people of South Africa caused by the oppressive white minority regime, through 1961 when the armed wing of the ANC, Umkhonto we Sizwe, MK, (Spear of the Nation) was created, up to 1990 when Nelson Mandela and the other ‘Prison Graduates’ were released. Note is taken of Thandi’s military and diplomatic experiences during the struggle and after the liberation of her country when her dream was fulfilled."

"Secondly reference is made to some anecdotes relating to her life and how she survived hardships and near death experiences….

"Thirdly any Tanzanian will be attracted to her experiences in Tanzania together with her view of the central role Tanzania played in the liberation of East-Central and Southern Africa.

"Lastly, the book contains interesting letters and photographs."

"Finally, her dream fulfilled, she lives her life with joy. She believes a bright and prosperous future is awaiting the African Continent…"

"In conclusion, I must admit that this was my first experience of an autobiography of a distinguished African lady. Thandi Lujabe-Rankoe is a great South African freedom fighter, an excellent diplomat and a writer you can never forget. I offer my salutations with profound respects to her."

- Ambassador Jaafar Msolomi