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Patriots & Parasites

Writing Dene Smuts
Design & Production Wilna Combrinck
Size 235 x 150mmPages 344
Paperback ISBN 978-1-928209-60-7
Categories politics


‘Dene said that every one of us needs to be accountable to our conscience, to our country, to our Constitution and to our constituency. I would be brave enough to say that no one South African held up to these standards as much as she did.’
Mmusi Maimane

Patriots & Parasites, completed just days before Smuts’s unexpected death in 2016, is her account of the momentous period known as the Transition Era, through the lens of her 25-year career as a key opposition MP and a respected legislator. With ambitious breadth and rare insight, she examines:

  • The arduous but exhilarating work of writing the Constitution and the Bill of Rights
  • The great experiment in catharsis that was the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
  • The reinvigoration of racial polarisation under the Mbeki administration, and the slow burn of resentment that is coming to a head among the next generation (as manifested in the #RhodesMustFall campaign)
  • The entrenchment of cronyism under Zuma, and the fight to protect the crucial balance of accountability enshrined in the freedom of the media and the independence of the judiciary


‘It is clear that the enormous effort of hard work, immense courage and an uncanny legal tenacity that she put into her parliamentary portfolio will influence millions of lives for decades to come.’

Antjie Krog

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