Solidarity Reads: Ronnie Kasrils – from spy chief to bestselling author – get the ebooks at 21% off for 21 days

Solidarity Reads: Delivering the best ebooks Jacana Media has to offer at very special prices – 21% off for 21 days.

For the 21-day lockdown period Jacana Media is curating a series of ebook special offers from its extensive catalogue of titles.

The Jacana team commits to bringing you great ebooks that span genres from fiction and memoir, to natural history and political biographies.

Jacana Media Solidarity Reads Day 13

Ronnie Kasrils has always written. From his work on Bertrand Russell, to poetry during the exile years, to his pieces under the pseudonym ANC Khumalo, for the various ANC publications in exile.

But it was after his return to South Africa that his writing took off. And how.

These four titles, written at different stages of his career, always tell a story of truth to power.


Catching Tadpoles: The Shaping of a Young Rebel

‘Ronnie Kasrils gives us the first 21 years of his life with all the elements that have made him beloved of freedom fighters and book readers alike: his dash, his cunning, his humour, his humanity and – most of all – his irrepressible joie de vivre. He comes of age, he comes to political consciousness and he brings his early worlds – from Jewish Yeoville to Bohemian Joburg – to life. Unputdownable.’ – Mark Gevisser 

With Ronnie Kasrils’s remarkable memory for evocative detail, and his flair for the spoken word, his story revels in the social, sexual and political awakening of a roguish boy’s adventures with girls, rock music, bohemian culture and leaping across the colour barrier.

Buy the ebook today!


A Simple Man: Kasrils and the Zuma Enigma

‘Zuma is symbolic of the rottenness of this country’ – Ronnie Kasrils at the launch of this book

Kasrils’s insights into Jacob Zuma, both shocking and revelatory, are vividly told through this story, from their shared history in the underground to Kasrils’s time as minister of intelligence, to his views on the New South Africa.

The oft-told story of Zuma the struggle hero becomes clearer through Kasrils’s telling.

Published in 2017, when Zuma was still in power, he sees Zuma as having sold his soul to the devil. Written as a fast-paced, thriller-style memoir, told from the inside, the book gives the reader an understanding not only of the machinations of power, but how power corrupts.

Buy the ebook today!


Armed and Dangerous: From Undercover Struggle to Freedom

‘You can cover the whole history of Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) in the life and adult adventures of Ronnie Kasrils. When it was formed in 1961 he was in the ranks of its first Durban unit. When it consolidated and began its campaign of sabotage he was in the Natal Regional Command. When it suffered virtual suppression in the post-Rivonia period, he was wanted and on the run into exile. He became an essential cog in the slow reconstruction directed from London, Dar es Salaam, Lusaka and Maputo.’ – Rusty Bernstein

Following the arrests of Nelson Mandela and other ANC leaders, Ronnie Kasrils together with his wife Eleanor went into exile to continue their ANC work. He became one of the key commanders of Umkhonto weSizwe and set up training camps in Tanzania, Cuba and elsewhere.

Nicknamed ‘The Red Pimpernel’ by the South African press and public for slipping in and out of South Africa in disguise to run secret missions during the liberation struggle, Kasrils had several close shaves with security forces, but with his signature derring-do and a little bit of luck, he always escaped.

Now in its fourth edition, Armed and Dangerous is the author’s account of his years in both the liberation struggle and in government. He gives an insider’s account of the workings of Umkhonto weSizwe, the armed wing of the ANC, and of his role in Mandela’s first cabinet, moving on then to Mbeki’s.

Buy the ebook today!


The Unlikely Secret Agent

‘This is a wonderful book about a courageous and extraordinary woman who was highly principled, yet endowed by nature with all the clandestine skills. Her exploits recall the heroism of the great SOE women agents of the Second World War, yet the values she fought for so intrepidly are still in the balance today. Ronnie Kasrils tells her story with humility and a pride that the reader can only share.’ – John le Carré

On 19 August 1963, the dreaded Security Police descend on Griggs bookstore in downtown Durban and arrest Eleanor, the white daughter of the manager.

They threaten to ‘break her or hang her’ if she does not lead them to her lover, ‘Red’ Ronnie Kasrils, who is wanted on suspicion of involvement in recent acts of sabotage.

But Eleanor has her own secret to conceal: she is, like Ronnie, a clandestine agent for the ANC and must protect her handlers and Ronnie at all costs.

Astutely, she convinces the police that she is on the verge of a nervous breakdown and, still a prisoner, is relocated to a mental hospital in Pietermaritzburg for assessment. It is here that she plots her escape.

This remarkable book won the Sunday Times Alan Paton Award in 2011.

Buy the ebook today!


Categories Non-fiction South Africa South African Current Affairs

Tags A Simple Man Armed and Dangerous Biography Catching Tadpoles Jacana Media Jacana Media Solidarity Reads Memoir Ronnie Kasrils The Unlikely Secret Agent

1 Votes


You must log in to post a comment