Book Review: Mxolisi Mgxashe’s Are You With Us

Are You With Us by Mxolisi Mgxashe is an autobiography published in 2006 and is about his life as a PAC activist during the apartheid era.

In this book Mgxashe shares story of his life from when he was recruited into the PAC in high school, his involvement with the party until the party was banned in 1960 when he went to exile in the USA. He also critiques the post-apartheid South Africa, discussing the successes and failures of the ANC government as well as the current internal strife within the PAC.

This book is written a not so elegant manner, it reads a bit like a poorly written blog at times. He writes how I would expect him to speak which gives me an insight of the type of a person he could be in real life. It is however a bit of a struggle to get though the book, it really doesn’t flow easily.

I quite enjoyed just how the author dispels so many of the untruths that we accept as the gospel truth: how the role of the PAC has been air-brushed out of the 21 March 1960 Langa and Sharpeville Marches, the intentional erasure of Robert Sobukwe’s legacy and the controversial issue of the PAC political prisoners that were not granted amnesty at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

I would have said the author’s subjectivity and biased view in favour of the PAC is a negative, but all he is doing is just telling his story as he was seeing it.

I’d recommend this book to anyone interested in the political history of South Africa, and also just how our history may have been distorted by the ANC.

Out of ten, I rate Are You With Us a seven taking away the three points solely because of how hard it is to get through it.

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