A major figure in the anti-apartheid struggle, Ronnie Kasrils, will be in Derry on Thursday, where he will read from his explosive new book, 'A Simple Man', which is an insider's exposé of the recently resigned former South African president, Jacob Zuma's, controversial rise to power.
The long-standing former African National Congress (ANC) and South African Communist Party (SACP) executive member will visit the city as part of the Gasyard Féile 2018.
Mr. Kasrils, a founding member of the MK (uMkhonto we Sizwe), the armed wing of the ANC, was a senior figure in the Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki administrations of the 1990s and 2000s.
He will read from ‘A Simple Man - Kasrils and the Zuma Enigma’, a damning account of the former South African president Jacob Zuma's rise to power and, what he considers its detrimental effect on the ANC government from 2009 onward, in the Gasyard Centre at 7.30 p.m. on Thursday.
An MK commander from its inception in 1961 until 1990, Mr. Kasrils served in government from 1994 through to his resignation as Minister for Intelligence in 2008.
Sinn Féin councillor Kevin Campbell, who is looking forward to the event, said: “I would encourage people to come along on Thursday night to the launch and hear at first hand Ronnie's account of former South African President Jacob Zuma's rise to power and effect on the South African government.
“Ronnie has visited Derry on a number of occasions over the years and it is always fascinating to hear his experiences on how he became a political activist fighting on the side of the oppressed against an apartheid regime that knew no bounds of inhumanity or cruelty.
"Radicalised by the 1960 Sharpeville Massacre, he joined the ANC before becoming a member of the South African Communist Party. He was attracted to the SACP by its analysis of the South African working class and its strong trades union organisation."
Over the years Mr. Kasrils, now aged 79, fought alongside the likes of Oliver Tambo, Joe Modise and Joe Slovo in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa.
He has visited Derry on a number of occasions due to the ANC's and MK's friendly relations with the republican movement in the city.
This was evident upon the death of the late Sinn Féin leader and former IRA commander Martin McGuinness last year when Edna Molewa, Chair of the ANC National Executive Committee Sub-committee on International Relations, said: “The ANC enjoys longstanding fraternal ties with Sinn Féin and is saddened at the news of the passing of a man who played a key role in the Irish republican movement and the peace process.
“Sinn Féin was a trusted ally of the ANC during apartheid and its leaders stood steadfastly by our movement in support of our struggle for liberation. The ANC has always been humbled by the example set by Sinn Féin in transitioning from the trenches of warfare to the assumption of political leadership."
Admission to Thursday evening's event is free.