Jacob Dlamini is a journalist and historian whose work examines the lingering effects of the apartheid-era culture of secrecy on South Africa’s efforts to forge a democratic and open society. As an Open Society Fellow, Dlamini used court records and police files, as well as the archives of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, to tell the story of Glory Sedibe, a senior military operative in the African National Congress, who was captured in 1986 by the security police and forced to become a spy for the apartheid state. Sedibe’s story illustrates the corrosive effect of secrecy and counter-insurgency on the mechanisms of democratic accountability.
Dlamini is currently a researcher at the University of Barcelona. He received his doctorate in history from Yale University. Previously, he was a Ruth First fellow at Wits University in Johannesburg. He is the author of Native Nostalgia (Jacana 2009), winner of the University of Johannesburg’s Creative Writing Debut Prize for 2010. He wrote a weekly column for Business Day, South Africa’s premier financial newspaper, for which he was previously Political Editor. He also served as a columnist for the now-defunct South African newspaper The Weekender.