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HSRC Press :: History, Humanities & Liberation :: Every Step of the Way

Every Step of the Way
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Every Step of the Way

The journey to freedom in South Africa

Written by Michael Morris, Commissioned and funded by the Ministry of Education, Compiled by the Social Cohesion and Integration Research Programme of the HSRC

Format240mm x 168mm
ISBN 100-7969-2061-3
ISBN 13978-07969-2061-4
Publish Year2004
DescriptionRelated ProductsEmail To A FriendProduct RatingCustomer Reviews

Every Step of the Way :: The journey to freedom in South AfricaFree DownloadEvery Step of the Way :: The journey to freedom in South Africa

"Serpentine queues, some stretching for kilometres, showed that despite the bombs of the past few days, the country's democratic resolve was in good shape. There was plenty of patience and spirits were high. By the time they voted, many had waited for hours. Most had waited a lifetime...."

In the long history of southern Africa, the last decade stands as an extraordinary turning point. It is a decade that redefines a society formed through the conflicts and bonds of centuries. This book celebrates this decade, the first ten years of South African democracy, in part by seeking to provide some depth to the popular understanding of the history that preceded it, and made it possible.

It arises from the Ministry of Education's concern that the values of the present era, and the realisation of the ideals of democracy, equality and non-racialism, cannot be fully appreciated without an understanding of their long gestation in the tumult of the national story. On this the tenth anniversary of the advent of democracy, South Africans of all ages are presented with the opportunity to reflect on their immediate, but also their distant, past.

The objective is to refresh or instil a sense of the idealism and the values that underpinned the defining trajectory of the struggle for liberty, without overlooking the complex or unpalatable features of the past - the acknowledgement of which is essential for a fuller understanding of the present. So, while the scope of the book takes in the broadest sweep of history, from the very emergence of modern humanity in southern Africa, it is thematically focused on the struggle for, and triumph of, freedom. Every Step of the Way traces the origins of the resistance and the idealism that ultimately assured South Africans their freedom and raises provocative questions about the roles of individuals in directing or going along with history. Speeches and statements of the famous and the powerful are contrasted with the memories of the obscure and the downtrodden, the imagery of poetry and song and the immediacy of newspaper reports are interwoven with the insights and interpretations of leading historians and the first-hand accounts of people who left a record of their world.

When South Africans crossed their ballots in the country's first democratic elections on 27 April 1994, they also collectively crossed the line that divided a long, complex and often bitter past from a future of hope, equality and common nationhood. The challenges they faced were no less daunting, but now, for the first time, they could confront them together. The narrative of the long journey to this moment is a compelling one, celebrating the tenth anniversary of that first democratic election, because what we choose to remember from our yesterdays is a way of recommending choices for our tomorrows.
Foreword by Professor Kader Asmal
Prologue Fires
Chapter 1 First steps
Chapter 2 Strangers on the shore
Chapter 3 Being in touch
Chapter 4 As far as the eye could see
Chapter 5 Finders keepers
Chapter 6 Sparks from the earth
Chapter 7 Credit to the Crown
Chapter 8 Union spells division
Chapter 9 Hewers of wood, drawers of water
Chapter 10 Armed and dangerous
Chapter 11 Storming the fortress
Chapter 12 End of the beginning
Chapter 13 A free state
Chapter 14 By any means
Chapter 15 When that sunrise comes
Endpiece Remembering the future
Picture credits
About the Author/s
Compiled by the Social Cohesion and Integration research programme of the HSRC for Ministry of Education

Extract from review by Karen L. Harris (University of Pretoria) that appeared in the South African Historical Journal (Issue 52, 2005)

"The author, Michael Morris, ... is a well-seasoned journalist who must be commended for the wide sweep of material he has mastered in the production of this book. His style is thus essentially journalistic, which makes for a fast-moving text that switches between the past and the present, but persistently adheres to the central theme, the book's subtitle 'the journey to freedom in South Africa'. True to his profession, each chapter has an eye-catching headline-type title, and in most cases begins with a particular vignette which leads the reader into the theme under discussion. The double-column format which is interspersed with quoted extracts and occasional insertions, is lavishly illustrated with sketches and photographs on virtually every page. This also complies with the journalistic flair of the book, and gives it a less dense rather than heavily academic overtone.

"Educators across the board should welcome the book into their libraries both as a teaching tool and as a general reference for learners. The already mentioned wealth of illustrations along with the extensive use of extracts, quotations, poems and other thought-provoking sources are invaluable for the innovative teaching of history at a variety of levels. Moreover, Morris's assertion that the 'themes of the larger narrative' can be traced in the 'lives of individuals' (p. 71) leads to the regular use of biographical sketches, which in turn provide the educator with relevant material for creative assignments and discussion. The comprehensive index also makes the search for information on specific topics easier for both educator and learner."

Extract from review by A.J.B. Humphreys, University of the Western Cape, Bellville, South Africa in the South African Archeological Bulletin 59 (180): 71-73, 2004:

Michael Morris has produced a major contribution to our [historical archeology] resource base in this endeavour. The range of his reading is truly impressive, ranging as it does from formal historical studies through personal reminiscences to novels and his integrative writing skills are enviable (but then he is a highly respected journalist) and, as already intimated, his insights are profound. One can only congratulate Morris on an excellent piece of work and commend it to the widest possible readership.

Jackie Loos, Cape Argus, 25 June 2004:

"Given that this book was commissioned and funded by the Department of Education and produced in collaboration with the Social Integration and Cohesion Research Programme of the HSRC, one might be forgiven for expecting something one-dimensional and bureaucratic. It is quite the opposite.

Michael Morris, a thoughtful and perceptive special writer ... describes the evolution of Man in Africa and follows the story of black and white interaction in South Africa right up to the present. Three-quarters of the book is devoted to the period prior to 1990 and the final chapters tell of the sometimes disheartening, often exhilarating, roller-coaster ride we have experienced since the release of Nelson Mandela.

The text, engaging and occasionally provocative, is enlivened by telling quotes from a wide variety of sources, both poetry and prose, with pertinent black and white illustrations on almost every page."

Extract from review by Marisa Pineau (Universidad de Buenos Aires, Universidad Nacional de Quilmes, Argentina) in Tydskrif vir Letterkunde 43(1) 2006 pp. 207-208:

"Although the author engages the usual chronology (with the well-known turning points: 1910, 1948, 1960, 1990 and 1994) he intends to write the history of his country in an interesting and different way, a participative one. He uses poetry, songs, book and newspaper extracts, drawings as well as white and black pictures to illustrate the text. These additional forms of information complement the written text and create an interesting whole. ...

"The author's writing is appealing, and this makes for engaging reading. Readers with some degree of education will find the book accessible and easy to read. They will find information not only about their national history (the bibliography is useful, appropriate and up to date) but also new interpretations of well-known events. One of the best things about the book is that it does not pretend to be the last word in history, as so often happens in books of this type. The author prefers to question rather than provide ultimate and final answers."

Extract from review by Alan Gregor Cobley (University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Barbados) in African Studies Review Vol 49.3 (Dec 2006) p. 92:

"... I wish to emphasize that Every Step of the Way has been meticulously researched and draws on much of the best historical writing in the last twenty years in an effort to present a picture of the South African past that is as inclusive as possible. It also makes good use of contemporary literary and pictorial sources to break up the text and provides an exciting variety of images and perspectives on the issues discussed. An authoritative note is added by frequent citation of key historians and a good supporting list of readings for each chapter."

Click on the links below to read the reviews:

Sunday Times Lifestyle 10 July 2005

Sunday Times 15 August 2004

This Day 29 June 2004

This Day 24 June 2004

Argus 25 June 2004

DFA 28 May 2004

Argus 21 May 2004

NMT 21 May 2004



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