April 12, 2023

Justice Malala

Harvard Book Store welcomes JUSTICE MALALA—author of bestseller We Have Now Begun Our Descent: How to Stop South Africa Losing its Way—for a discussion of his new book The Plot to Save South Africa: The Week Mandela Averted Civil War and Forged a New Nation. He was joined in conversation by EVE FAIRBANKS—author of The Inheritors.


Johannesburg, Easter weekend, 1993. Nelson Mandela has been free for three years and is in power sharing talks with President FW de Klerk when a white supremacist shoots the Black leader’s popular young heir apparent, Chris Hani, in hopes of igniting an all-out war. Will he succeed in plunging South Africa into chaos, safeguarding apartheid for perhaps years to come?

In The Plot to Save South Africa, acclaimed South African journalist Justice Malala recounts the gripping story of the next nine days, as the government and Mandela’s ANC seek desperately to restore the peace and root out just how far up into the country’s leadership the far-right plot goes. Told from the points of view of over a dozen characters on all sides of the conflict, Malala offers an illuminating look at successful leadership in action and a terrifying reminder of just how close a country we think of today as a model for racial reconciliation came to civil war.

About Author(s)

Justice Malala is one of South Africa’s foremost political commentators and the author of the #1 bestseller We Have Now Begun Our Descent: How to Stop South Africa Losing its Way. A longtime weekly columnist for The Times (South Africa), his work has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, and Financial Times, among other outlets. The former publisher of The Sowetan and Sunday World, he now lives in Los Angeles.
Eve Fairbanks writes about change: in cities, countries, landscapes, morals, values, and our ideas of ourselves. Her debut book The Inheritors, about South Africa, won the 2023 PEN/America John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction. A former political writer for The New Republic, her essays and reportage have been published in The Washington Post, the New York Times, and The Atlantic, among other outlets. Born in Washington D.C. and raised in Virginia, she’s lived in Johannesburg, South Africa, for thirteen years.