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Land of My Ancestors

Recommended Price 
February 2019
About the book: 
When working on the UNESCO Slave Route project in the early 2000s, Botlhale Tema discovered the extraordinary fact that her highly educated family from the farm Welgeval in the Pilanesberg had originated with two young men who had been child slaves in the midnineteenth century. She pieced together the fragments of information from relatives and members of the community, and scoured the archives to produce this book. 
Land of My Ancestors,  previously published as  The People of Welgeval,  tells the story of the two young men and their descendants, as they build a life for themselves on Welgeval. As they raise their families and take in people who have been dispossessed, we follow the births, deaths, adventures and joys of the farm’s inhabitants in their struggle to build a new community.
Set against the backdrop of slavery, colonialism, the Anglo-Boer War and the rise of apartheid, this is a fascinating and insightful retelling of history. It is an inspiring story about friendship and family, landownership and learning, and about how people transform themselves from victims to victors.
A new prologue and epilogue give more historical context to the narrative and tell the story of the land claim involving the farm, which happened after the book’s original publication.
About the Author
Botlhale Tema was born in Johannesburg and raised in small villages and townships in the then Western Transvaal. She studied the sciences in South Africa and the United Kingdom. She has worked as a teacher, and was the first secretary general of the South African National Commission for UNESCO. She was later seconded by the Department of Science and Technology to the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa, where she was the director of Human Resources, Science and Technology. Botlhale is now retired but is involved in community development projects and the promotion of social entrepreneurship.

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