Book Review – Let’s Talk Frankly

Letters to influential South Africans about the state of our nation by Onkgopotse JJ Tabane (Pan Macmillan) ISBN: 9781770104327

JJ Tabane is a journalistically trained activist, academic and intellectual with his work boots on.  The book contains a foreword from Mathatha Tsedu, Executive Director of the South African National Editors’ Forum, providing support for a brave, considered and unabashed series of views to follow.

The book consists of a series of frank (like its namesake) and sarcastically entertaining letters to South Africa’s leaders.  Tabane is no holds barred in his letters reminding Mamphela Ramphele that politicians sadly need to have a level of two-facedness that ‘comes with the job’ and telling Julius Malema that he is a ‘conman extraordinaire’.

Tabane’s letters neatly capture various comings, goings and utterances of our nation’s leaders culminating in a letter to His Excellency JZ.  He writes with a charitable balance of scathing criticism and appreciative credit for Thuli Madonsela, Ray McCauley and Mmusi Maimane among others.  At the end of each letter Tabane makes useful recommendations to these leaders that provide the reader with a highly consumable package of insights into the career decisions that comprise South Africa’s most influential citizens.

Though bittersweet, a thoroughly educational, entertaining and nourishing read.

Justine Cullinan

Posted on: 30th January 2016