by Bernard Magubane
Born in 1930 on a farm near Colenso in Natal, South Africa, Ben Magubane would almost certainly have grown up to be a farm worker had his father not moved the family suddenly to the city of Durban following a clash with the farm’s owner. In Durban, the family lived in the Cato Manor squatter settlement, and Magubane began his education in the Catholic schools that flourished before the imposition of Bantu Education. In this fascinating autobiography, Ben Magubane relates how, as a child, he was radicalized by the conditions apartheid imposed on the majority of the country’s people. He became a teacher, and his passion for learning led him on to the University of Natal and eventually to the US for postgraduate studies in the social sciences. As a critical thinker, Magubane was schooled by eminent scholars within the liberal-pluralist paradigm, but he migrated towards an understanding of African history and sociology through Marxism, a journey that shaped him as a leading African intellectual. Magubane became closely involved with various members of the African National Congress in exile, including Oliver Tambo, and he played a vital role in the anti-apartheid struggle in the US and beyond.