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Jonathan Ball

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Lawrence Hamilton’s Are South Africans Free? Launched at Love Books

Are South Africans Free?Lawrence Hamilton’s Are South Africans Free? was launched at Love Books on Tuesday evening with a fascinating discussion and a lovely spread of snacks, soup and Joostenburg wine for the many guests.

Excited family, friends, fans, colleagues and students discussed political theories while waiting for the discussion to start. After settling the crowd, Kate Rogan introduced author and professor Lawrence Hamilton and his interviewer, Laurence Piper. Hamilton, who works at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), stood for the duration of the interview to feel more at home when addressing the crowd, as any lecturer would. He revealed that in the last five years he’s been writing not just Are South Africans Free? but also Power is Freedom which will be launched in July. He also revealed later in conversation that he would soon be leaving UJ for Wits University.

During the interview, Piper and Hamilton had fun changing political party hats and used examples from home and abroad to explain the concepts they were discussing. The book’s title and most pertinent question, “Are South Africans Free?”, was answered with a resounding “no”, followed by a solid argument and a definition of freedom. Hamilton hopes his book, relevant to current public concerns, will make political theory accessible to the masses and address the “disjuncture between a very ideal form of constitutional right and the reality on the ground”.

The Q&A was then opened to the guests and followed by a book signing. Being a political theory professor at UJ, an affiliated lecturer in political theory in the department of politics with international studies at Cambridge University in the UK and an elected member of the academy of science of South Africa, Hamilton’s book promises to be an interesting read with a transformative view.

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Kirsty Mitchell tweeted live from the event using the hashtag #livebooks:

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