How the rejection of victimhood dogmas will save South Africa

“The transition of democracy taught us many things. In an arduous process we prevailed and eventually founded one of Africa’s highly respected democracies. Our failures in the 1990s and 2000s must be seen as a lesson. Our achievements must be seen as motivation to transform our country into the most competitive in the world.” – Phumlani M. Majozi

What can be learned from black South Africans who achieved success before South Africa became a democracy in 1994? What are the challenges they faced, and how did they overcome them? And, today, how have South Africans benefited from the country’s democratic system of governance?

These are the questions Phumlani M. Majozi explores and attempts to answer in Lessons from Past Heroes.

He traces black people’s success and political activity back to the early 1900s; successful men and women who spearheaded the struggle against the segregationist, colonialist government and devoted their lives to advancing the interests of their communities. Phumlani explores the careers, challenges, and successes of people such as Pixley ka Isaka Seme, John Langalibalele Dube, Sol Plaatje and Josiah Tshangana Gumede.

During the apartheid years, South Africa produced black men and women who overcame the odds to succeed in their fields of business, entertainment, science, and politics. They excelled in the face of an oppressive government system, and their stories should inspire every South African today.

After exploring the history of South Africa, Phumlani delves into the present and the future; evaluating the challenges South Africans face and proposes solutions that can speed up their economic progress.
He argues that much of South Africa’s history has portrayed the majority as victims of the minority, and that the inspirational stories of those people who overcame adversity are not being told widely enough.
These stories must be told to inspire future generations.

If black South Africans could succeed in the pre-1994 era, what can stop them today? The answer is nothing, Phumlani writes.