Book Reviews and Recommendations

Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe: New reflections.
Pogrund, B (ed). 2019. Jeppestown: Jonathan Ball Publishers.
Bookreview by: Ross Anderson


The nineteen contributors include :
Benjamin Pogrund. One time deputy editor of the Rand Daily Mail. He was a close friend of Robert Sobukwe and wrote his biography.
Nyameko Barney Pityana. A founding member of the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM). One time vice-Chancellor of Unisa.
Claudelle von Eck. She is the former CEO of IIA SA, and is acting CEO of its Leadership Academy for Guardians of Governance.
Adam Habib. He is Vice Chancellor of Wits University. His latest book is Rebels and Rage, a reflection on the #FeesMustFall movement.
Barney Mthombothi. Former head of news at SABC, editor of the Sunday Tribune and of the Financial Mail. He was a Reuters Fellow at Oxford University and a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University.
Kwandiwe Kondlo. Professor in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Johannesburg.
Otua Sobukwe. She is the granddaughter of Robert Sobukwe.


This book reconsiders the life, ideas and legacy of one of South Africa’s greatest leaders. For leading the anti-pass campaign of 1960, Sobukwe was jailed for many years by the apartheid government, including solitary confinement on Robben Island, and then banished to Kimberley. His ideas and example have enduring resonance in contemporary South Africa.

Bishop Desmond Tutu: the voice of one crying in the wilderness: a collection of his recent statements in the struggle for justice in South Africa
Webster, John (ed). 1982. Bishop Desmond Tutu. Oxford: Mowbray & Co. 125 pages. Paperback.

Bookreview by: Ross Anderson

The book was published by A.R. Mowbray & Co. Ltd as part of The Emerging Church series on crucial issues for Christians today. The series is edited by Alan Webster, Dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London. The foreword was written by Trevor Huddleston, then Bishop of Mauritius, and one-time President of the Anti-Apartheid Movement. The book is a collection of Bishop Tutu’s writings and sermons. For those among us who say with reference to the wicked days of apartheid, “let’s move on and not dwell on the past” this book will bring a sobering challenge. Tutu was a man of prayer, peace, love and astonishing bravery. The most remarkable quality, perhaps, of his sermons in this book is their heartbreaking charity towards those who perpetrated apartheid. This book is possibly the best living exposition, that I have read, of what Jesus meant when he said, “But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Mat 5:44 NIB).  

Is this it?
by Rachel Jones

Book review by Lara Moyles

What does it mean to live in this world as a twenty-something year old? And what does it mean to live in South Africa as a twenty-something year old? Growing up in South Africa, traditions are still prominent: I need to excel in High School so that I can get into the best university, where I’ll study to enter a profession that offers both job security and financial stability, then I’ll search for a husband, settle down, and then the children come. But, what if I want something different? Surely that can’t be it to life?

When I was handed Rachel Jones’s book, I will admit at first I was somewhat frustrated that I had to put the likes of Piper, Grudem, and Carson to the sidelines to read a book targeting twenty-something year olds. As I turned to the contents page, I was blown away – nearly every single chapter spoke to issues and concerns that have been plaguing my mind for the past year. As a twenty-something year old Christian, who has grown up in the church, I often forget about the reality of growing up, and that it is okay to acknowledge that the changes that come with growing up are extremely daunting and overwhelming. At the best of times, these concerns simply dissipate over time, yet with the big changes of moving out of the schooling system and into the working place, moving out of home, and seeing friend after friend say their “I do,” life can become an anxiety-filled space to exist in at the best of times.

Jones’s book is one that speaks to issues that go across the twenty-something threshold, beyond cultures, and across borders. While your twenties are said to be the freest time of your adulthood life, this does not mean that it does not come with some challenges: dissatisfaction, rootlessness, regret and nostalgia, doubt in career choices, loneliness, singleness, dating and marriage, aging, and self-doubt. The brilliance of Jones’s book is that unlike any other self-help book being pushed at us on social media – it’s an unashamed acknowledgement that not-so-good thoughts litter our minds during times of big changes. But, even more brilliant is Jones’s reliance on God’s Word and His purpose for our lives.

If anything, the book allows you to laugh at your misfortune in attempting to make these big life decisions, believing that we’re alone in this battle. But, what a wonderful reminder that because our life is planned out by God, it essentially can’t go wrong! While I may not understand God’s plans, the final destination that I live for is completely worth it – living a life that will bring the most glory to God, so that one day these worries I fussed about in my twenties will seem like nothing when I’m in Heaven for eternity.

Yes, we can fuss and worry about what decision we need to make next, but if we want to truly enjoy life, then we need to live it to the fullest with Christ – then we will be “truly alive.” 

Affirming God’s Image: Addressing the Transgender Question with Science and Scripture

Book review by Niki Hodson

If any of you are wanting to educate yourself on the transgender debate, “Affirming God’s Image” by J. Alan Branch (2019) is an excellent book to read. It is told from a Christian perspective, and seeks to understand both the psychology and the science behind the phenomenon of transgenderism that is fast increasing in popularity. Schools all over the world are beginning to accept this ideology into their curriculum, and as ministers to adults and children, we need to educate ourselves and prepare ourselves with a Christian response. Branch looks at the rise of transgenderism, the various dimensions of its definitions and ideology, and the science behind the proposed causes and the treatments used to transition a transgendered person. He then clearly outlines a biblical perspective, including the refutation of ‘biblical arguments’ in support of transgenderism. In the last section of the book he discusses what the church can do in response. It is a very well-researched and well-written book, and I would recommend it above others of its kind as it contains the most recent scientific research and it provides a balanced, in-depth biblical perspective and response. 

The Reason For God
by Timothy Keller
Recommended by Allan Anderton, GWC

The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity
by Douglas Murray
“The chapter on the importance of forgiveness (which our society massively lacks) is very interesting coming from a  non-Christian. Well worth reading not only for the content but style – it is a joy to read (and disturbing)” (Friend of GWC)

Coronavirus and Christ
by John Piper
Recommended by Nevil Carrington, GWC

The Single Issue
by John Hsu
“A Christian perspective on Singleness and the issues they face. This is the best book I have read on singleness and I cannot recommend it enough to Singles and those ministering to singles”
Recommended by Simone Odendaal, GWC

Gay Girl, Good God
by Jackie Hill-Perry
“A beautifully written book on Jackie’s testimony”
Recommended by Simone Odendaal, GWC

Plugged In
by Daniel Strange
“Very interesting book on how Christians engage with the culture around them and the importance of creating content in the pursuit of getting God’s message out in a world of competing world views”
Recommended by Simone Odendaal, GWC

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