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Choice Not Fate: The Life and Times of Trevor Manuel

ISBN 
9780143027539
Format 
Ebook
Recommended Price 
R290.00
Published 
September 2012
About the book: 

Trevor Manuel became South Africa's first black finance minister in 1996, a time when the economy threatened to spiral into a debt trap. It took five years before Manuel could present his first 'good news' Budget in Parliament. He described that Budget as a tale of 'irrevocable and powerful transformation', a tale of 'patience and obstinacy ...of determination and hope ...Of choice, not fate.' He could have been telling the tale of his own life. Born into a working-class family on the Cape Flats, his family's story embodied the fate that befell thousands of people classified coloured under apartheid. Homes lived in and lost under the cruel Group Areas Act, a mother who struggled to bring up her children on a garment worker's wages, clashes with gangsters who roamed the streets of the Flats, a truncated education. Manuel stared down fate - and internecine Western Cape politics - to become one of the most prominent anti-apartheid leaders in the internal resistance movement of the 1980s. He confronted apartheid's police and prisons with a boldness that sometimes bordered on recklessness. After Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990, Manuel rose quickly through the ranks of the African National Congress becoming a member of Mandela's first cabinet. When Mandela appointed him minister of finance in 1996, business leaders sneered at his lack of qualifications and experience. When he drove through a tough macroeconomic plan in a post-apartheid South Africa, some of his own constituency turned on him. 'Obstinate and patient', he saw out the worst until the economy began to turn. Under his stewardship, South Africa entered its longest growth period ever. By 2007, he was the world's longest serving minister of finance and, across the world, the most respected African finance minister.

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About the Author

Pippa Green is a South African journalist and writer who began her career in 1982 reporting on the trade union and anti-apartheid resistance movement for The Argus in Cape Town. She first met Manuel in 1980, when he rose to prominence in the Western Cape civic movement, and was fascinated then by his combination of combativeness and thoughtfulness, of empathy and acerbity. For this book, she conducted hours of interviews with Manuel over a period of four years, as well as with his family and friends, his comrades and critics, and his colleagues in the Treasury and cabinet.

Born in Cape Town in 1958, Green was educated at the University of Cape Town and at Columbia University in New York. Her work has been published widely in magazines and newspapers in South Africa and the United States. She has been a deputy editor of The Sunday Independent and Pretoria News and Head of Radio News at the South African public broadcaster. She was a recipient of the Nieman Fellowship at Harvard in 1999, and was Ferris Visiting Professor of Journalism at Princeton University in 2006.
 
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