/ / / / Kgalema Motlanthe – A Political Biography

Kgalema Motlanthe – A Political Biography


Presenting a superb account of a man characterized by his reticence, this biography offers rare and thorough insight into the life of one of South Africa’s most powerful men: Kgalema Motlanthe. From Motlanthe’s ancestral family to his political awakenings as he discovered the African National Congress, this account traces Motlanthe’s political path to becoming the third president of the Republic of South Africa.

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In this landmark biography of Kgalema Motlanthe, Ebrahim Harvey provides a rare and thorough insight into this most discreet and enigmatic of men, who is at the same time one of the most powerful political figures in South Africa today. We learn about Motlanthe’s family and early life in Soweto, and this gradual political awakening as he came to discover the ANC. Following his arrest for underground activity, he was sentenced to ten years on Robbin Island, where he formed important friendships and alliances that would later define his political career. After his release, he became involved in the trade union movement, rising to the powerful position of general secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers.

It was when in 1997 Motlanthe succeeded Cyril Ramaphosa as ANC secretary-general that this reserved but often courageously independent leader first emerged as a prominent political figure. Just over ten years later, Motlanthe became the third President of South Africa, under exceptional circumstances.

This superb biography contains wide-ranging interviews with Kgalema, his family, his friends and comrades at Cosatu, the NUM, the SACP, the ANC and government. It is also includes interviews with leading figures in other political organisations, civil society, academia and the media.

Unsparing in its scope, detailed in its revelations and rigorously critical in approach, this book reveals not only the complex politician but also the very human nature of the man who is Kgalema Motlanthe.

Additional information

Dimensions 24 × 16 cm



Date Published





Softcover, 24x16cm, 419pp