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Book Discussion: Songs & Secrets, By Barry Gilder

Book Discussion:

Songs & Secrets

South Africa From Liberation To Governance

 By Barry Gilder

Date/Time: Tuesday, October 29th

1:00 pm – 1:30 pm – Check In/Lunch

1:30 pm – 2:30 pm Discussion / Q&A

Location: NYU Africa House

14A Washington Mews, New York, NY 10003

(Between University Place and 5th Avenue)


About the Book

A decade into its hard-won democracy, South Africa and its ruling party, the ANC, have been through turbulent times: confrontation between Thabo Mbeki and his then deputy Jacob Zuma; the dismissal of Zuma as Deputy; Zuma’s defeat of Mbeki in ANC presidential elections; and the recall of Mbeki as South African President, are events that have left many ANC cadres politically and emotionally aghast. Were these events the result of personal enmity? Was the broad church that the ANC had become to unite all forces in the struggle against apartheid beginning to break up? Or did the roots lie in the global dynamic that allowed South Africa its freedom as the Cold War cooled? Written in an anecdotal style, and with a cinematic quality, Songs and Secrets explores these questions through the viewfinder of a former high-ranking member of the ANC’s secret intelligence wing. It follows Gilder into the ANC’s military camps in Angola; to Moscow for spycraft training; to the underground in Botswana; and into leadership positions in the administration of the new government. Gilder’s frank, compelling memoir explores the personal, political, psychological and historical realities that gave birth to the new South Africa, in particular the oft-ignored conditions in which the ANC government tried to turn apartheid around.

About the Author

Barry Gilder was born in South Africa in 1950. He entered exile in 1976, composed and sang struggle songs at anti-apartheid events in Europe and elsewhere, and served in the African National Congress’s intelligence structures until his return to South Africa in 1991. He later became deputy head of the South African Secret Service. He is currently a fellow at the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection, a policy think tank set up by former senior leaders in the democratic government.