Penguin Random House and Exclusive Books invite you to join us for the book launch of Tembeka Ngcukaitobi’s The Land is Ours:

  • Date:  Monday, 5 March 2018
  • Time:  17:30 for 18:00
  • Venue:  Exclusive Books, Hyde Park Corner
  • Address:  Jan Smuts Avenue & William Nicol Drive, Hyde Park, Johannesburg, 2196
  • RSVP: or Ursula on 011 798 0180

About the Book

The Land is Ours is a must-read. I am immersed in its pages right now and Adv Ngcukaitobi’s brilliance is in every page. He breaks down the complex history of the “frontier wars”, colonial exploits in the Cape and a terrible loss of land, wealth, livelihood and livestock of Xhosa people. At the heart of Ngcukaitobi’s argument is his perspective of South Africa’s first black lawyers and the birth of constitutionalism. He provides brilliant background to this “birth of constitutionalism” and he does it with poise, ease and little jargon.

The Land Is Ours tells the story of South Africa’s first black lawyers, who operated in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In an age of aggressive colonial expansion, land dispossession and forced labour, these men believed in a constitutional system that respected individual rights and freedoms, and they used the law as an instrument against injustice.

The book follows the lives, ideas and careers of Henry Sylvester Williams, Alfred Mangena, Richard Msimang, Pixley ka Isaka Seme, Ngcubu Poswayo and George Montsioa, who were all members of the ANC. It analyses the legal cases they took on, explores how they reconciled the law with the political upheavals of the day, and considers how they sustained their fidelity to the law when legal victories were undermined by politics.

The Land Is Ours shows that these lawyers developed the concept of a Bill of Rights, which is now an international norm. The book is particularly relevant in light of current calls to scrap the Constitution and its protections of individual rights: it clearly demonstrates that, from the beginning, the struggle for freedom was based on the idea of the rule of law.


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