No holy cows

Vytjie Men­tor isn't pulling any punches



She’s worked in the pub­lic do­main for years, but it was only when she de­tailed how she’d been of­fered the post of pub­lic en­ter­prises min­is­ter by the Gupta fam­ily that Vytjie Men­tor’s name was on ev­ery­one’s lips.

She’s been raked over the coals, sued and ac­cused of be­ing in col­lu­sion with op­po­si­tion par­ties. Now the for­mer ANC MP and whistle­blower has writ­ten a tell-all in which she names and shames those she be­lieves should an­swer to SA. We spoke to her about her book.

What would you like read­ers to get out of the book?

I’d like read­ers to com­pre­hend the ex­tent of state cap­ture and cor­rup­tion in our coun­try.

I want to high­light the is­sues of sex­ual ha­rass­ment and abuse of women in the po­lit­i­cal space and to awaken a spirit of fighting these prac­tices.

Why did you de­cide to go the self-pub­lish­ing route?

I tried to get the book pub­lished by South African and in­ter­na­tional pub­lish­ers but it was costly and I was only go­ing to get 13-18% of the roy­al­ties. That’s to­tally un­ac­cept­able to me as I think it’s ex­ploita­tive.

Why did you de­cide to write the book now?

I started writ­ing this book as an au­to­bi­og­ra­phy. It got too big and had to be di­vided into three parts. I wanted to tell the story of my life, in­clud­ing the pe­riod I spent in the po­lit­i­cal space. I also wanted South Africans – and those who fol­low me all over the world – to bet­ter un­der­stand who I am, and all that makes me who I am.

It also con­cerns me that many South Africans don’t read books, and I’d like to change that for the bet­ter.

What books do you have on your bed­side ta­ble?

Heroic Lead­er­ship by Chris Lowney (for­mer man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of JP Mor­gan) and Hlomu the Wife, a novel by Dudu Bu­sani-Dube.

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