Struggle icon Jack launches new book
A brief video documenting the life and times of Mkhuseli “Khusta” Jack set the tone as the Eastern Cape struggle hero launched his book in East London on Tuesday night.
The more than 100-strong audience at the Guild Theatre clapped and cheered as footage showed Jack’s wedding day, as well as some of his most rousing speeches denouncing the apartheid government in the turbulent 80s.
The Daily Dispatch was the official partner for the launch of the memoir.
The book, To Survive and Succeed: From Farm Boy to Businessman, chronicles Jack’s activism against apartheid government, but also details his rise as a successful businessman in SA’s democratic dispensation.
After introductions and musical offerings by the Sweet Voices of Africa Ensemble, Jack took to the stage, where he was interviewed by the Dispatch’s Ray Hartle.
Jack said it was important that people read as it helped to dispel "superstitions" that caused people to repeat the mistakes of the past.
He also took the audience on a journey of his formative years, becoming the first person in his family to be educated beyond then Standard 4 (Grade 6).
The oratory prowess of his struggle days was clear to see, and the audience clung to his every word.
Keynote speaker and one of the country's leading businessmen Saki Macozoma said he was thrilled struggle veterans like Jack, a longtime friend, were writing.
"He has so much to tell. Unlike those heroes who went into exile during apartheid, Khusta was always there. There are so many lessons we can learn from him, which is why his chronicling of these events is so important," Macozoma said.
The city needed more platforms of this nature, where the community could discuss important issues, he added.
Eastern Cape legislature deputy speaker Mlibo Qoboshiyane said it was an honour and a privilege for the youth of today to attend the launch.
"If I was there during your time I'm sure I would have followed you wherever you went," he said, addressing Jack.
"You never gave up. It is not famous presidents or popular prime ministers or footballers, it's ordinary people who make history. You were steadfast as a son of the soil."
East London-born writer and columnist Kazeka Mashologu Kuse told the audience that Jack had always been a supporter of the youth.
"As a young black South African I can say 'FeesMustFall', but I will always have the protection of the law – something Khusta did not. The book gives voices to many unsung heroes and heroines of the struggle. It makes sure these names remain in our consciousness.
"This book is a great legacy to us young people."
Vuyiseka Mboxela of the SA Youth Council wanted the audience to ask themselves whether present-day South Africa was the one struggle veterans like Jack had fought for. This was the question that formed after reading Jack's book.
The event was MCed by Keith Ngesi, of Keith Ngesi Radio.
A Twitter hashtag, #khustajackbooklaunch was set up during the launch...