Shades of Difference by Padraig O'Malley
Mac Maharaj and the Struggle for South Africa

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The inside story of South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement, told through the experiences of one of its unsung heroes, with an introduction by Nelson Mandela

A South African of Indian descent, Mac Maharaj was a potent force in the Communist Party and African National Congress for nearly four decades. Tortured by South African security forces, he served twelve years in prison with Nelson Mandela and was able to smuggle out a painstakingly miniaturized copy of Mandela’s autobiography. He continued to play a key role in the movement and participated in the negotiations that ultimately led to a free South Africa in 1994. In Mandela’s new government, he served as minister of transport. Drawing on extensive interviews with Maharaj over the last eleven years, Padraig O’Malley vividly captures the experiences of this South African freedom fighter. By telling Maharaj’s story, O’Malley sheds new light on the decades-long battle against apartheid as well as the more recent struggle to build a free South Africa.


About Padraig O'Malley

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Padraig O'Malley is a scholar, mediator, and the author of Biting at the Grave, one of The New York Times Editors' Choice Best Books.
Published April 19, 2007 by Viking Adult. 672 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Shades of Difference

The New York Times

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In 2003, Mac Maharaj, who had served under Nelson Mandela in South Africa’s first fully democratic government, was accused in the press of taking kickbacks during his time as minister of transport.

Jun 10 2007 | Read Full Review of Shades of Difference: Mac Mah...

Publishers Weekly

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In this groundbreaking biography of a central figure in the fight to end South African apartheid, O'Malley draws on every aspect of Maharaj's life and the society in which he lived in order to understand South Africa's changing racial and political context over the past 100 years.

Feb 05 2007 | Read Full Review of Shades of Difference: Mac Mah...

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