Charles van Onselen's The Seed is Mine to be republished in April

“If ever one wondered whether the life of a single man could illuminate a century, [this] brilliant biography … proves the point.” - Carmel Schrire, The Boston Globe

27 March 2019 - 11:46
reprinted with a fresh, new cover.
The Seed is Mine reprinted with a fresh, new cover.
Image: Jonathan Ball Publishers

A bold and innovative social history, The Seed Is Mine concerns the disenfranchised blacks who did so much to shape the destiny of South Africa.

After years of interviews with Kas Maine and his neighbors, employers, friends, and family – a rare triumph of collaborative courage and dedication – Charles van Onselen has recreated the entire life of a man who struggled to maintain his family in a world dedicated to enriching whites and impoverishing blacks, while South Africa was tearing them apart.

“If ever one wondered whether the life of a single man could illuminate a century, [this] brilliant biography … proves the point.” - Carmel Schrire, The Boston Globe

“An epic … [that] tells of the loss of human potential generated by a politics that surrendered generosity and openness to self-interest and bigotry. It reveals the way an ordinary man can survive with dignity in such a world.” - Vincent Crapanzano, the New York Times

“A magnificent book [with] implications beyond its modest claims … This remarkable story compels foreboding but also kindles hope, for it shows the extraordinary courage of ‘ordinary’ men under severe difficulties.” - Eugene Genovese, Emory University

“[Van Onselen] teases out the subtleties of the paternalistic relationships between rural whites and blacks which gave rise to real friendships but also to much betrayal, anger, and humiliation . . . It is a monumental masterpiece of research, and a poetic evocation of the human spirit to survive … ” - Linda Ensor, Business Day

CHARLES VAN ONSELEN is the acclaimed author of several books including The Fox and the Flies, Masked Raiders, and, most recently, The Cowboy Capitalist. His book, Showdown at the Red Lion, has been opted for an international television drama series based upon the acclaimed title and embellished with characters from Masked Raiders. Van Onselen has been honoured with visiting fellowships at Yale, Cambridge, and Oxford, and was the inaugural Oppenheimer Fellow at Harvard’s WEB Du Bois Institute. He is currently Research Professor in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Pretoria.

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