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Pan Macmillan

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New Edition of Emma Mashinini’s Autobiography Strikes Have Followed Me All My Life

Strikes Have Followed Me All My Life“This book will serve as a living memory of the evil of the apartheid regime. It is an opportunity for me to speak to my children.” – Emma Mashinini

Strikes Have Followed Me All My Life describes in compelling detail the life of Emma Mashinini, one of South Africa’s leading trade union organisers and gender-rights activists.

From her childhood in Sophiatown to the dark days she spent in detention under apartheid and her lasting contributions to labour organisation in South Africa, Emma’s selfless and courageous story – published for the first time in South Africa – recalls and preserves a vital chapter in our country’s history.

Praise for Strikes Have Followed Me All My Life

“This book is more relevant today than ever. It is yet another indication of the heavy price paid for freedom so that we and those who come after us live in a society free from oppression and hate, a society that respects the right to life and dignity and a society where the only limitations placed on us is our own imagination.” – Jay Naidoo

About the author

Emma Mashinini’s activism began when she was elected as a shop steward and later appointed as a floor supervisor at Henochsberg’s clothing factory. In 1975, Emma took up a position as the first General Secretary of the Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers’ Union of South Africa (CCAWUSA), growing the union substantially in the following years. She was arrested in 1981 under Section 6 of the Terrorism Act and held in solitary confinement at Pretoria Central Prison for six months. After her release she spent some time regaining her strength at a clinic in Denmark before resuming her post at CCAWUSA for another four years. In 1985, through her role in CCAWUSA, Emma was involved in the formation of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU). In 1986 she was appointed head of the Department of Justice and Reconciliation, later working as Deputy Chairperson of the National Manpower Commission and then as the Commissioner for Land Restitution. She lives in Pretoria.

Book details


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