I Write What I Like by struggle activist Steve Biko is made up of his personal writings, interviews and reports that focus on his experiences as president of the South African Student Organisation. The book is a collection of writings originally published in 1969, and the collection ends in 1972 when he was prohibited from publishing. The book unpacks key elements of the Black Consciousness philosophy. I Write What I Like is a stepping stone in understanding and contextualising of recent student protests at universities around the country.
Bessie Head was born to a wealthy white mother and servant father during the apartheid years. She grew up to become an activist for pan-African politics and established herself as one of Botswana’s most influential writers. Her semi-autobiographical book, A Woman Alone, was originally published in 1990 and banned in South Africa under apartheid law. It follows key events in her life and her experiences as a Botswana refugee and highlights issues of mental illness, abandonment and biracial discrimination. This book is a thought-provoking read that delicately explains her universalist perspective and highlights the benefits of disregarding methods of separation and classification.
Country of my Skull by Antjie Krog was originally published in 1998 and follows the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). The book is a combination of poetry, direct testimony and an interrogation of her position and understanding unique to the TRC. Throughout the book she positions herself as a white Afrikaner, heavily involved in media and journalism as she analyses the effect this has on her perception of her country.
These are only a handful of books to sculpt your line of thinking. Be sure to also have a look at It’s me, Anna by Elbie Lötter, and Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela, as well as A Bantu on my Stoep by Eusebius McKaiser.