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"[Frank B.] Wilderson [will] become a major American writer. Mark my word." --Ishmael Reed In 1995, a South African journalist informed Frank B. Wilderson, one of only two American members of the African National Congress (ANC), that President Nelson Mandela considered him “a threat to national security.” Wilderson was asked to comment. Incognegro is that “comment.” It is a "[Frank B.] Wilderson [will] become a major American writer. Mark my word." --Ishmael Reed In 1995, a South African journalist informed Frank B. Wilderson, one of only two American members of the African National Congress (ANC), that President Nelson Mandela considered him “a threat to national security.” Wilderson was asked to comment. Incognegro is that “comment.” It is also his response to a question posed five years later by a student in a California university classroom: “How come you came back?” Although Wilderson recollects his turbulent life as an expatriate in South Africa during the furious last gasps of apartheid, Incognegro is at heart a quintessentially American story. During South Africa’s transition, Wilderson taught at universities in Johannesburg and Soweto by day. By night, he helped the ANC coordinate clandestine propaganda, launch psychological warfare, and more. In his mesmerizing political memoir, Wilderson’s lyrical prose flows from his childhood in the white Minneapolis enclave “integrated” by his family to a rebellious adolescence at the student barricades in Berkeley and under tutelage of the Black Panther Party; from unspeakable dilemmas in the red dust and ruin of South Africa to his return to political battles raging quietly on US campuses and in his intimate life. Readers will find themselves suddenly overtaken by the subtle but resolute force of Wilderson’s biting wit, rare vulnerability, and insistence on bearing witness to history no matter the cost. A literary tour de force sure to spark fierce debate in both America and South Africa, Incognegro retells a story most Americans assume we already know, with a sometimes awful, but ultimately essential clarity about racial politics and our own lives. Frank B. Wilderson, III is the award-winning author of Red, White, & Black: Cinema and the Structure of US Antagonisms (Duke UP) and the director of Reparations . . . Now.


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"[Frank B.] Wilderson [will] become a major American writer. Mark my word." --Ishmael Reed In 1995, a South African journalist informed Frank B. Wilderson, one of only two American members of the African National Congress (ANC), that President Nelson Mandela considered him “a threat to national security.” Wilderson was asked to comment. Incognegro is that “comment.” It is a "[Frank B.] Wilderson [will] become a major American writer. Mark my word." --Ishmael Reed In 1995, a South African journalist informed Frank B. Wilderson, one of only two American members of the African National Congress (ANC), that President Nelson Mandela considered him “a threat to national security.” Wilderson was asked to comment. Incognegro is that “comment.” It is also his response to a question posed five years later by a student in a California university classroom: “How come you came back?” Although Wilderson recollects his turbulent life as an expatriate in South Africa during the furious last gasps of apartheid, Incognegro is at heart a quintessentially American story. During South Africa’s transition, Wilderson taught at universities in Johannesburg and Soweto by day. By night, he helped the ANC coordinate clandestine propaganda, launch psychological warfare, and more. In his mesmerizing political memoir, Wilderson’s lyrical prose flows from his childhood in the white Minneapolis enclave “integrated” by his family to a rebellious adolescence at the student barricades in Berkeley and under tutelage of the Black Panther Party; from unspeakable dilemmas in the red dust and ruin of South Africa to his return to political battles raging quietly on US campuses and in his intimate life. Readers will find themselves suddenly overtaken by the subtle but resolute force of Wilderson’s biting wit, rare vulnerability, and insistence on bearing witness to history no matter the cost. A literary tour de force sure to spark fierce debate in both America and South Africa, Incognegro retells a story most Americans assume we already know, with a sometimes awful, but ultimately essential clarity about racial politics and our own lives. Frank B. Wilderson, III is the award-winning author of Red, White, & Black: Cinema and the Structure of US Antagonisms (Duke UP) and the director of Reparations . . . Now.

30 review for Incognegro: A Memoir of Exile and Apartheid

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kenyon

    Written by Kenyon Farrow for the Indypendent: When the “free” elections in South Africa happened in 1994, I was a 19 year-old college freshman at a small liberal arts college in Ohio. Fortunately, I had become friends with many South Africans on my campus, and in the neighboring universities that dot the central and Southern Ohio landscape. I remember looking at a copy of the ballot, given to me by my roommate’s mother, and seeing the dozens of candidates of many political parties that made up th Written by Kenyon Farrow for the Indypendent: When the “free” elections in South Africa happened in 1994, I was a 19 year-old college freshman at a small liberal arts college in Ohio. Fortunately, I had become friends with many South Africans on my campus, and in the neighboring universities that dot the central and Southern Ohio landscape. I remember looking at a copy of the ballot, given to me by my roommate’s mother, and seeing the dozens of candidates of many political parties that made up the government of the “New” South Africa, which strangely enough, has turned out to be as new as the “new” American South. Nevertheless, we all (Africans and Blacks from the U.S. and Caribbean) assembled in front of the televisions to watch Nelson Mandela become the new President of South Africa, transforming the ANC from an insurgent revolutionary movement into the dominant political party of the neoliberal nation. Little did I know, at 19 years old, the price that had to be paid for the “progress” that the country was undertaking. While I now know that many were skeptical, few Black Americans knew that price better than Frank Wilderson, III, one of only two American Black members of the ANC, who with several other ANC members, was labeled by Nelson Mandela “a threat to national security” in 1995. Wilderson, author of the newly published and highly controversial memoir “Incognegro: A Memoir of Exile & Apartheid,” offers an incisive view of how a liberation movement becomes a political party. He also reckons with what happens to a revolutionary who returns to a U.S. Left, mired in the politics of gaining access to the “rights” of civil society in multi-culti California. I met Wilderson this past Sunday at a small reading at the Salon D’Afrique, a longstanding Harlem salon hosted by writer and scholar, Dr. Rashida Ismaili Abu-bakr, who gave a reading to about 15 invited guests. We engaged in a political dialogue with the author about the book, which intentionally does not offer a “what to do next” proscription for progressive movements in the U.S. or abroad. “The Black demand is for subjectivity,” stated Wilderson. “But progressive political movements must have a coherent goal, but the reality is that the demand cannot be met by a coherent demand, like a civil rights policy for access into civil society.” He modeled Incognegro after the 1987 autobiography of Black revolutionary Assata Shakur (currently in exile in Cuba), with chapters alternating between South Africa and the U.S. “The organizational structure comes from Assata Shakur—how do you write about a revolutionary underground movement, anti-black racism in liberal and progressive California, and also the use of poetry,” Wilderson remarked. Many of the guests who’d read the book were struck by the biography of his early life as the son of two academics who were the first family to integrate a Minneapolis suburb – as Dr. Ismaili noted, “not the stereotypical background of a Black revolutionary.” Others, including myself, were struck by the places of sheet vulnerability in the work of a Black male political memoir. I am still reading the book, but I find this aspect particularly refreshing. A central question of the book is whether any real differences exist between the U.S. and South Africa. One story illustrates this point: in a trip back to the U.S. with his South African wife, she leaves Wilderson in New York telling him that if she wanted apartheid, she could get it at home. This notion flies in the face of what so many on the left extrapolate from Black leftist politics—people seem to love the idea that Black revolutionaries learn to transcend concerns about Black people to take on more “international” concerns. From Malcolm X’s trip to Mecca to MLK’s speech on opposing the Vietnam War, Black radicals can make it into the leftist pantheon of stars. Wilderson is drawing the conclusion that anti-Black racism is a global phenomenon and has yet to be addressed, let alone already solved, as much of the Left seems to purport. “The world needs the Black position,” Wilderson said. And though my friends, in 1994, watched the elections in South Africa with some level of pride and relief, we knew that being Black, whether from Soweto or St. Louis, Mombassa or Montego Bay, is what brought us into that room in the student center, shut away from the rest of the campus. But the hope we had is exposed as a fraud both in Incognegro and by the realities of where South Africa is headed. One of those friends, who was instrumental in my political growth, was killed in Soweto sometime around 2001. South Africa continues to expand its prison system much like the U.S., and HIV/AIDS rates in American Black communities rival those of Africans on the continent. Incognegro, as a book, and Wilderson’s incessant and unrelenting look at the failure of the integration of Black concerns and liberation into “civil society” makes me highly recommend this book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    complicated? yeah, frank wilderson is complicated. this book punches holes in the psyche. it takes away what needs taken. it demands the reader to get real on what's at stake: white or black death (this "structural antagonism" is his main focus - though his racial politics clearly cut in other directions). wilderson carves away all liberal fat and leaves you with a stark choice, an incision. do you risk life and limb or leave it to others? this book will heighten your contradictions. complicated? yeah, frank wilderson is complicated. this book punches holes in the psyche. it takes away what needs taken. it demands the reader to get real on what's at stake: white or black death (this "structural antagonism" is his main focus - though his racial politics clearly cut in other directions). wilderson carves away all liberal fat and leaves you with a stark choice, an incision. do you risk life and limb or leave it to others? this book will heighten your contradictions.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kinch

    This is far from a perfect book, in terms of prose, structure, and style But the content is so damn good, the writing so honest, and the political/social insights so cutting it still gets five stars!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jocelyn

    Still recovering. Damning and unforgettable. One of those books from which you emerge not only changed, but feeling eerily set apart from those who haven't yet read it. [Full disclosure: I'm part of the publishing collective that brought this book out into the world. But I don't speak from that place here.] Still recovering. Damning and unforgettable. One of those books from which you emerge not only changed, but feeling eerily set apart from those who haven't yet read it. [Full disclosure: I'm part of the publishing collective that brought this book out into the world. But I don't speak from that place here.]

  5. 5 out of 5

    Finn

    tokoloshe- n. troll [South Africa] "...the laissez-faire tokoloshes, the ones in our files, were no ordinary tokoloshes. they were not knee high trolls with leathery faces who snorted and grunted as they rose up from beneath the earth to make mischief. they did not materialize under some unlucky person's bed and nibble at his toes in the middle of the night. they did not make dishes fly about the room and crash against the walls. we could have handled that. We wouldn't have needed a safe house in tokoloshe- n. troll [South Africa] "...the laissez-faire tokoloshes, the ones in our files, were no ordinary tokoloshes. they were not knee high trolls with leathery faces who snorted and grunted as they rose up from beneath the earth to make mischief. they did not materialize under some unlucky person's bed and nibble at his toes in the middle of the night. they did not make dishes fly about the room and crash against the walls. we could have handled that. We wouldn't have needed a safe house in hillbrow to sort through their policy papers, their academic work, or the notes we had stolen from their dust bins - since most tokoloshes don't write. we wouldn't have needed a safe house in hillbrow to study their movements and mount their photographs on the wall, since most tokoloshes can't be seen. we wouldn't have needed to bug their offices, bribe their secretaries to eavesdrop on their meetings, or send operatives to monitor their classes - since most tokoloshes are seldom heard and cannot be recorded. ...like traditional tokoloshes, they made weird noises when they spoke (they called this gargling "editorials," "policy papers," "scholarly articles," and "memorandums of understanding, compromise, and reconciliation"). and like other tokoloshes they wreaked havoc from the inside out and they vanished into thin air when you raised a broom to sweep them away or a fist to strike them down. they made poor targets, for they always said they wanted what you wanted, or what you would know you wanted if only you could want what they wanted, for example. they were all for black participation within the existing paradigm - which seemed so reasonable that the paradigm itself could not be put on the table for critique and dismantling. and unlike normal tokoloshes who screamed and yelled and ran away in the night, the tokoloshes of laissez-faire were always willing to listen. they could listen for hours. they could listen for days. they could spend a lifetime listening. they liked to organize "listening sessions," like university transformation forums that would "listen" for the next ten years and never transform the university - never devolve power to the masses. their favorite word was "stakeholder." everyone was a "stakeholder" which meant nothing was ever at stake. their second favorite word was "process." the process of negotiations had to be free of "intimidation" (their third favorite word), free from mass action, and from civil disobedience. the word they hated was "power." talking about power was like saying, "hey, tokoloshe, i see you!" it could make them disappear. 'we should just shoot one of them." i can remember that being said in the hillbrow house. was it Jubu? was it Precious Jabulani or Trevor, as we pored over the writings of the tokoloshes, or was it me, who said it? at one time or another we all had said it. some nights we said it together. assassinate robert charlton as he leaves the Great Hall. Kill june sinclair in her office. audit one of mureinik's classes and do the deed as he lectures on how to calibrate the rule of law with the discontent of the disenfranchised. blow van onselen away on the floor of the faculty senate. make a spectacle of it. at the very least it would be good for student morale. we were joking... perhaps."

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mattilda

    The subtitle of this book, “A Memoir of Exile and Apartheid,” actually relates to way more than fighting South African apartheid as a member of an underground cell of the military wing of the African National Congress. This portion of the book would already make a fascinating memoir, but it’s the ways in which Wilderson talks about exile and apartheid inside the US (where Wilderson grew up, and has spent most of his life), inside the African National Congress, inside academia, and inside desires The subtitle of this book, “A Memoir of Exile and Apartheid,” actually relates to way more than fighting South African apartheid as a member of an underground cell of the military wing of the African National Congress. This portion of the book would already make a fascinating memoir, but it’s the ways in which Wilderson talks about exile and apartheid inside the US (where Wilderson grew up, and has spent most of his life), inside the African National Congress, inside academia, and inside desires of the mind and body. One portion of the book is a fascinating, frightening and surprising tale of finding a sort of home in South Africa, ironically just before (and not after) it becomes “a White state with a Black face,” and of losing that home to go back to the other place that was supposed to be home (US apartheid, that is). Another portion is about racist tyranny under cover of white liberalism, especially at Cabrillo College in Santa Cruz County, California, and Wilderson’s fraught relationship with a white woman more than 20 years his senior (while still married, officially at least, to a black South African woman). The third part is about growing up in a wealthy white enclave of Minneapolis, and coming-of-age in Detroit, Chicago, and Berkeley at the height of radical movements in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Somehow Wilderson manages to be in Chicago just after Fred Hampton was gunned down by the FBI and in Berkeley as war is declared on Cambodia and martial law instituted. These three sections, and all of their layers, contradictions, insights and disasters, wind around one another and that’s what makes this book different from most political memoirs -- it’s highly crafted, elegant and raw, explosive and emotional, scathing and self-aware and angry and funny and filled with all the contradictions of a political life -- read it read it read it!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Duke Press

    "Wilderson has offered an important and groundbreaking story of the last days of apartheid. . . . More than anything Incognegro teaches us that the fall of apartheid was not bloodless or peaceful, that the corruption of neo colonialism inhabits South Africa still, and it invites us, wherever we are, inside or outside South Africa, to tear down ourselves to the very foundations." — Meta L. Schettler Callaloo "Wilderson's epic . . . offers thoughtful and provocative detail and nuance on each [read "Wilderson has offered an important and groundbreaking story of the last days of apartheid. . . . More than anything Incognegro teaches us that the fall of apartheid was not bloodless or peaceful, that the corruption of neo colonialism inhabits South Africa still, and it invites us, wherever we are, inside or outside South Africa, to tear down ourselves to the very foundations." — Meta L. Schettler Callaloo "Wilderson's epic . . . offers thoughtful and provocative detail and nuance on each [read]. The book makes you rethink the idea of what a hero is and why and who crowned Nelson Mandela as such. It reveals the soul wrenching challenge of what it means to be an activist. It prompts a redefinition of success. And Wilderson takes on what he describes as some left wingers' deep need to cling to the notion that South Africa's apartheid was different than racism on U.S. soil." — Esther Armah The New York Amsterdam News "Radical, defiant, and searingly honest, this memoir about being active in the freedom struggle in the U.S. and in post apartheid South Africa is bound to spark passionate argument as Wilderson weaves together his personal story with his politics, always critical of those in power." — Hazel Rochman Booklist "Wilderson's stinging portrait of Nelson Mandela as a petulant elder eager to accommodate his white countrymen will jolt readers who've accepted the reverential treatment usually accorded him. . . . Wilderson has a distinct, powerful voice and a strong story that shuffles between the indignities of Johannesburg life and his early years in Minneapolis . . . a riveting memoir of apartheid's last days."-- Publishers Weekly

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ricado

    Frank B. Wilderson's memoir takes us to two geographical locations dominated by white settlers. The USA where blacks are a numerical minority and South Africa (apartheid and post apartheid) where blacks are a numerical majority but a psychological and economic minority. In both locations anti blackness is embedded and also what Wilderson through a killing rage, love, passion, wit , humor and political commitment fills the 500 pages of his memoir. A young black american who decides to come and wo Frank B. Wilderson's memoir takes us to two geographical locations dominated by white settlers. The USA where blacks are a numerical minority and South Africa (apartheid and post apartheid) where blacks are a numerical majority but a psychological and economic minority. In both locations anti blackness is embedded and also what Wilderson through a killing rage, love, passion, wit , humor and political commitment fills the 500 pages of his memoir. A young black american who decides to come and work in S.A during the height of apartheid and the resistance struggle. In S.A. Wilderson strips the persona of Mandela and shows that the emperor is indeed naked and was fooled by his political and economic tailors. He takes this a bit further and shows Mandela's ultimate betrayal of the black majority. This is also one of the weaknesses of the memoir, the faith he puts into the ANC and struggle icon Chris Hani (a member of the stalinist SACP) that could have liberated South Africa. It is here where he blinds himself to the anti black capitalist history of the ANC and eurocentric stalinist trappings of the revolutionary martyr Chris Hani. It is the same SACP that in its formative year had a slogan white workers of the world unite. Despite this significant blindspot Incognegro is a remarkable story of love, resistance, struggle within a white world and experiencing everyday form of anti blackness. Beautifully written. A good book if you want to understand the complexity of white black love, american black - african black love, contemporary forms of anti blackness and the betrayal of the South African revolution. This is the genius of incognegro.l

  9. 5 out of 5

    Camille

    A beautifully written memoir that takes you from late 60s Minnesota to late 80s "end of apartheid" South Africa, and then to the 00s in California's "progressive" Bay Area through the eyes of the exceedingly dynamic academic and activist Frank Wilderson III. Wilderson weaves a tale that explores hisinner torments, social struggles, family battles, and challenging relationships with amazing insight, biting political criticism, humor, poetry, and, above all, honesty. Inspired by Assata Shakur's me A beautifully written memoir that takes you from late 60s Minnesota to late 80s "end of apartheid" South Africa, and then to the 00s in California's "progressive" Bay Area through the eyes of the exceedingly dynamic academic and activist Frank Wilderson III. Wilderson weaves a tale that explores hisinner torments, social struggles, family battles, and challenging relationships with amazing insight, biting political criticism, humor, poetry, and, above all, honesty. Inspired by Assata Shakur's memoirs, Wilderson's book is a poignant trek through the ongoing evolution of a post-60s era black radical and a modern-day visionary. Highly recommended!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Arnoldo Garcia

    Incognegro is powerful prose because the author tells his story of revolution and counter-revolution from the skin out. I just read the first few pages of the opening chapter and was captivated. This is a hard-to-put-down book, literarily and politically; puts aparthied in its place...

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mark E. Smith

    COINTELPRO didn't target every radical in the United States. The FBI knew, as all forces of repression everywhere know, that it only had to target leaders and those with leadership potential. The U.S. was deprived of entire generations of leadership. Those who escaped being labeled mentally ill, being locked out of the workforce, being socially compromised in ways that would prevent future possibilities, being incarcerated, being driven to suicide, or being killed, were second-rate, out of the c COINTELPRO didn't target every radical in the United States. The FBI knew, as all forces of repression everywhere know, that it only had to target leaders and those with leadership potential. The U.S. was deprived of entire generations of leadership. Those who escaped being labeled mentally ill, being locked out of the workforce, being socially compromised in ways that would prevent future possibilities, being incarcerated, being driven to suicide, or being killed, were second-rate, out of the country, susceptible to being co-opted, or not yet politicized. It was the same in South Africa, and is the same in all capitalist countries. But capitalism is based on the concept of property, including human property, and that concept is inherently racist and sexist. Professor Wilderson's book is invaluable in making clear exactly how Nelson Mandela sold out South Africa, and on his U.C. Irvine page about the book http://www.uci.edu/features/2009/02/feature_wilderson_090203.php he hoped (in vain, as it turns out) that the same thing wouldn't happen here with Obama. But of course it did. Had he not been one of those it was unnecessary to target, Obama, like Mandela, could never have been elected. Instead he would have been assassinated like Chris Hani or Fred Hampton. What can we say to each other when our very survival is proof that we sold out or were not worth being targeted in the first place? The professor has a lot to say and I highly recommend reading it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Roger Grande

    Interesting memoir by an African American man whose personal story chronicles first, the Black Power movement within which he comes of age and is politicized, and later, the final days of the Anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa where he lives for a time. His insights are important, and I like his childhood stories about the Black Panther movement best, however, I find a decent amount of his recollections of politically sophisticated dialogue from his teen years not believable. I also find hi Interesting memoir by an African American man whose personal story chronicles first, the Black Power movement within which he comes of age and is politicized, and later, the final days of the Anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa where he lives for a time. His insights are important, and I like his childhood stories about the Black Panther movement best, however, I find a decent amount of his recollections of politically sophisticated dialogue from his teen years not believable. I also find him unrepentantly arrogant about his politics. His critique of Mandela (whom he confronts, and this appears to be the last straw for his former South African wife)is troubling, though his reasons for it are an important story to tell. The prose is too self-conscious in my view, but read it for an insight into a ceratin political personality--and there are some pretty powerful passages to be sure. Also, way too much enigma about his wife's child and his relationship to her; about his intolerance for his parents; and his lack of self-reflection about his violent racial fantasies re: women makes him unsympathetic.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    I haven't read much of this style/genre, but I am impressed by the author's insightful and downright honest description of the race-politics he faced. Calling it paranoid, like some other reviews have, would be casting it aside as one-man's-thoughts, instead of the honest views of classes of people. The outline of brutal atrocities, the moderate position of Mandela, the recount of his experience growing up black upper-middle class, his opinions of "white" feminism, and his experiences working for I haven't read much of this style/genre, but I am impressed by the author's insightful and downright honest description of the race-politics he faced. Calling it paranoid, like some other reviews have, would be casting it aside as one-man's-thoughts, instead of the honest views of classes of people. The outline of brutal atrocities, the moderate position of Mandela, the recount of his experience growing up black upper-middle class, his opinions of "white" feminism, and his experiences working for a radical party both topside and underground seemed irreverent, but at the same time quite reasonable. I felt his thoughts and actions were quite righteous, a true revolutionary til the end. This book got off to a slow start, but was something that I could not put down once I picked it up. I think maybe 3 books this year did this for me. 5 stars. A+.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sorayya Khan

    Frank Wilderson's memoir alternates between his life of exile and apartheid in the US and his experience in South Africa in the 80s when he worked with the ANC. It illuminates the struggle within the ANC and educated me on the complexity of the struggle, particularly with regard to Mandela whom I'd always seen portrayed as a bit of a god and the more radical Chris Hani. A few scenes of Wilderson's childhood -- growing up in the 1960's in Minnesota, living in a white suburb where no one comes to Frank Wilderson's memoir alternates between his life of exile and apartheid in the US and his experience in South Africa in the 80s when he worked with the ANC. It illuminates the struggle within the ANC and educated me on the complexity of the struggle, particularly with regard to Mandela whom I'd always seen portrayed as a bit of a god and the more radical Chris Hani. A few scenes of Wilderson's childhood -- growing up in the 1960's in Minnesota, living in a white suburb where no one comes to his family's door for two years -- are both striking and profound in conveying the race relations in the US and how they shape a young boy. This memoir is also a love story of sorts: what it means for Wilderson to love an African woman and then, upon return, to love an older white woman. It is personal and political history as one in its finest.

  15. 4 out of 5

    T.R.

    This book is amazing. I haven't read such a contemporary heart breaker- a political, personal memoir that shows the continued reality of DuBois and Fanon's analysis. You can easily find a summary elsewhere- but for locals, there is some good Berkeley history of the Black Panther Party and a bunch of middle school activists controlling the political tempo at Willard Middle School. I read this while following the beauty, love, optimism and inclusive vision of the Black Lives Matter movement. Yet th This book is amazing. I haven't read such a contemporary heart breaker- a political, personal memoir that shows the continued reality of DuBois and Fanon's analysis. You can easily find a summary elsewhere- but for locals, there is some good Berkeley history of the Black Panther Party and a bunch of middle school activists controlling the political tempo at Willard Middle School. I read this while following the beauty, love, optimism and inclusive vision of the Black Lives Matter movement. Yet the continued police violence and the dismissal of black lives that is so woven into US history seems to just add truth and resonance to Wilderson's pain and pessimism. 135-137 tokoloshes 139- 435 408

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    after reading snippets of this book about a year ago, i sat down for a couple weeks to read it all the way through. definitely page-turning, thought-provoking and revealing to me as someone who doesn't know much south african history (let alone radical s. african history) and also interesting to someone interested in interracial relationships / interactions etc - i recommend it. let's talk about it! after reading snippets of this book about a year ago, i sat down for a couple weeks to read it all the way through. definitely page-turning, thought-provoking and revealing to me as someone who doesn't know much south african history (let alone radical s. african history) and also interesting to someone interested in interracial relationships / interactions etc - i recommend it. let's talk about it!

  17. 4 out of 5

    South End Press

    Winner of the American Book Award and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and NEA Literary Fellowship recipient, this literary tour de force will alter permanently the global discourse on racial politics and liberation struggles.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    so far this book is amazing. thank you steve for the recommendation. i am currently reading a section when Frank is 11 - his family is the first black family to live in the Kenwood neighborhood in Minneapolis. omg. super intense. juxtaposed to five years living in apartheid South Africa.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    Wow, love memoirs! What a genius way of learning about historical / political situations through a highly personalised and experiential lens... add in relationship dramas and I'm so hooked. This book is brilliant. Wow, love memoirs! What a genius way of learning about historical / political situations through a highly personalised and experiential lens... add in relationship dramas and I'm so hooked. This book is brilliant.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sasha

    Must read.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Miller Sherling

    Wow. Love the prose , the stories, the structure, the open-endedness of it all, and author's willingness to poke fun at self and others for sake of revealing truth. Hurtful and hilarious. Wow. Love the prose , the stories, the structure, the open-endedness of it all, and author's willingness to poke fun at self and others for sake of revealing truth. Hurtful and hilarious.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Deborah

    a provocative and beautifully written memoir

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jay

    seething

  24. 4 out of 5

    gnarlyhiker

    an insightful, yet rambling read. good luck

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nathan

    Incredible story and analysis of a Black American who joins the struggle to end apartheid and capitalism in South Africa. Stuck between two colonized and racist countries, this memoir passes pretty seamlessly back and forth in time and space between a childhood in outside Minneapolis, active participation with the African National Congress and their militarized arm (Umkhonto we Sizwe), and struggles against white supremacy and anti-blackness as a professor in white liberal college towns in Calif Incredible story and analysis of a Black American who joins the struggle to end apartheid and capitalism in South Africa. Stuck between two colonized and racist countries, this memoir passes pretty seamlessly back and forth in time and space between a childhood in outside Minneapolis, active participation with the African National Congress and their militarized arm (Umkhonto we Sizwe), and struggles against white supremacy and anti-blackness as a professor in white liberal college towns in California. While a memoir, Frank Wilderson III doesn't shy away from scenes that are often criticisms of his own ideology and interpersonal conflicts, which I think makes for an interesting and honest reflection. Would highly recommend reading this, especially in this time of potential reform around anti-blackness and racial injustice where incremental and liberal reform still predominate, and lack any sort of class/economic dimension to them.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ignatz

    An incredibly well written and lucid book, it reads like a novel whilst also being one of the clearest texts I've read on liberation struggles in Southern Africa, the personal experiences that underlay and fed those struggles, and what came after. His narration of the betrayal of Communism in Azania provides useful backdrop to current debates around Afropessimism, but it could easily be read without being pushed into those now well-worn framings. Some contradictions he seems aware of (his own cl An incredibly well written and lucid book, it reads like a novel whilst also being one of the clearest texts I've read on liberation struggles in Southern Africa, the personal experiences that underlay and fed those struggles, and what came after. His narration of the betrayal of Communism in Azania provides useful backdrop to current debates around Afropessimism, but it could easily be read without being pushed into those now well-worn framings. Some contradictions he seems aware of (his own class background, gender), some he does not (diaspora), raise questions, but these are worth dwelling on.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ruth Segal

    Everything by Frank Wilderson is a great reality check for my whitewashed brain. Love him.

  28. 5 out of 5

    D Coulombe

  29. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

  30. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

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