Cover: The Terrorist Album: Apartheid’s Insurgents, Collaborators, and the Security Police, from Harvard University PressCover: The Terrorist Album in HARDCOVER

The Terrorist Album

Apartheid’s Insurgents, Collaborators, and the Security Police

Product Details


$29.95 • £26.95 • €27.95

ISBN 9780674916555

Publication Date: 05/05/2020


400 pages

5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

24 photos


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Enables us to look anew at the brutality and bureaucracy that marked apartheid policing… The Terrorist Album traces the evolution of policing in South Africa: how it grew more and more depraved in its desperation to counter the state’s political illegitimacy… The human loss it uncovers is painful, yet there is also a hopeful side to the story… [It] arrives at a time when this widespread cover-up is once again the subject of public conversation in South Africa.—Bongani Kona, The Baffler

[A] remarkable book that invites a long-overdue reckoning… Dlamini navigates the underside of apartheid and its long shadow by asking difficult questions that few other scholars or journalists have had the nerve to investigate… Turns his attention more fully to the nature of the apartheid state and the bureaucratic, if no less nasty, security apparatus that netted the ANC defectors… Dlamini is a reliable guide to the dimmer paths of the apartheid state in its dying throes. As those shadowed trails begin to fade with memory, we may need to rely ever more on his insights.—Alex Lichtenstein, Public Books

A monumental work of remembrance… Dlamini’s writing is lucid and captivating, moving between historical fact and careful biographical reconstruction. It is an invaluable addition to the greater and ongoing project of restoring to South Africans a history that some sought to erase and evade.—Marianne Thamm, Daily Maverick

Dlamini continues storytelling centered around the seemingly untold stories of the apartheid era.—Fatima Moosa, Daily Vox

A compelling study of the mechanics of apartheid from the inside… Dlamini tells the life history of state documents used to compel, bend, persecute, pressure, torture, and ultimately in some cases kill the opponents of the white supremacist state, the so-called Terrorist Album. This is a history of memory, of forgetting, of violence, and of state failure.—Benjamin N. Lawrance, African Studies Review

A timely and important contribution. More significantly, it is a thought-provoking and unsettling examination of the apartheid state, its authoritarian bureaucracy, and its security apparatus through one artefact, the so-called Terrorist Album.—Lennart Bolliger, South African Historical Journal

A harrowing descent into the hell of apartheid via documents the regime neglected to destroy. One person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter, and such people are made, not born… The apartheid regime created many through its campaign of repression and separation… Perhaps the greatest takeaway is [Dlamini’s] observation that no matter how a government tries to obliterate the past, it can never do so completely. An important document in the history of the apartheid era.Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

In The Terrorist Album, Jacob Dlamini has managed to reconstruct some of apartheid South Africa’s most violent and disturbing episodes, despite the former regime’s extensive efforts to erase its crimes and cover its tracks. Using archival evidence and detailed interviews with both perpetrators and their victims’ families, Dlamini, a superb historian and memoirist, has excavated a story that otherwise would have been hidden and forgotten.—Sasha Polakow-Suransky, author of The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa

The Terrorist Album is wise, humane, and thoroughly original. With one artifact, Jacob Dlamini opens worlds: of history, of biography, of the archive, of photography and philosophy. With characteristic flair and insight, he offers a compelling narrative of the workings of repressive violence and the way human beings are crushed by it, or manage to transcend it.—Mark Gevisser, author of A Legacy of Liberation: Thabo Mbeki and the Future of the South African Dream and Lost and Found in Johannesburg: A Memoir

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