Friday, June 20, 2014

New Africa Book of the Day - 20 June 2014

In the Name of the People: Angola's Forgotten Massacre, by Lara Pawson

Release Date: June 25, 2014
Publisher: I.B. Tauris

On 27th May 1977, a small demonstration against the MPLA, the ruling party of Angola – led to the slaughter of thousands, if not tens of thousands, of people. The protestors were supporters of the MPLA, however the ruling elite feared this new 'factionalism' might lead to a coup d'├ętat. The events of May 1977 are little talked of in Angola today – and virtually unknown outside the country.

In this book, journalist Lara Pawson tracks down the story of what really happened on that fateful day. In a series of vivid encounters, she talks to eyewitnesses, victims and even perpetrators of the violent and confusing events of the 27th May and the following weeks and months. From London to Lisbon to Luanda, she meets those who continue to live in the shadow of the appalling events of 40 years ago and who – in most cases – have been too afraid to speak about them before. Pawson investigates not only the unwritten story of the 27th May - one of the biggest taboos in Angolan contemporary history – but she also challenges long-held assumptions about political opposition in Angola, as well as the MPLA, Cuba and the former President Agostinho Neto.

Despite Angola's enormous oil wealth, poverty and racial division remain live problems for most of its people. This book contributes to a deeper understanding of modern Angola – its people and its politics; past, present and future.
Journalist Lara Pawson writes for The Guardian and has been a Writing Fellow at the Wits Institute of Social & Economic Research, at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. She is also on Twitter.