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Lessons from Past Heroes: How the rejection of victimhood dogmas will save South Africa – Phumlani M. Majozi


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Lessons from Past Heroes: How the rejection of victimhood dogmas will save South Africa – Phumlani M. Majozi

Phumlani M. Majozi unpacks his book 'Lessons from Past Heroes: How the rejection of victimhood dogmas will save South Africa' (Camera: Shadwyn Dickinson; Editing: Darlene Creamer)

16th February 2024


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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.


Phumlani M. Majozi is a business and macroeconomics analyst, writer and commentator on economic, political and global issues. His writings have been published in City Press, African Liberty and News24 and he currently writes a weekly column for Politicsweb.

In June 2018 he became a Senior Fellow at African Liberty and his appointment involves research and writing on African politics and economics. He sits on the boards of four organisations: Chartered Institute of Business Accountants (CIBA), South African Institute of Race Relations (IRR), Social Research Foundation (SRF) and Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA).

Phumlani has given talks in South Africa and Kenya on South Africa’s macro economy and politics, and also moderates conference panel discussions.

Lessons from Past Heroes: How the rejection of victimhood dogmas will save South Africa is published by Tracey McDonald Publishers


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