A guest holds a copy of the book at the launch of 'The A-Z of South African Politics, people, parties and players' while listening to the writers Kashiefa Ajam, Lebogang Seale, Thabiso Thakali, Janet Smith and Kevin Ritchie speak at The Fort, Constitutional Hill. Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency(ANA)
From Abrahams to Zuma and about 300 others in between, everyone (and anything) who’s anyone on the South African political scene has an entry in a new handbook called The A-Z of South African Politics.

First a disclaimer: I know the co- authors - Janet Smith, Kevin Ritchie, Lebogang Seale, Thabiso Thakali and Kashiefa Ajam - as they’re media col- leagues of many years’ standing. They’ve brought their impressive knowledge and expertise together to publish this important and timely book with Jacana.

The official book launch was held at Constitution Hill this week, with a lively discussion with the editors.

Ajam: This is a book about people, who they are, where they came from and where they are going.

Seale: It was our desire to share and contribute knowledge about the political landscape to assist the public in discerning meaning and having an understanding of the issues we write about. The last nine years (since a previous book of this nature was published) have been eventful, and even we in the media struggled to keep up with the rapid changes.

Thakali: It is not just looking at politicians, but also power brokers, events and social movements that have had an impact (included in the book are entries such as Marikana Massacre, Black Twitter and #FeesMustFall).

Smith: It was inevitable that some people had to be left out when there are so many to consider, and some entries - for example Steve Hofmeyr - may be controversial, but when you look a little deeper, you realise they need to be there. The determining factor in who to have in and who to leave out was the impact they have on the political landscape.

Ritchie: He describes “a tsunami of revelations” just as the A-Z was going to print. But nimble editing means that, for example, Angelo Agrizzi’s evidence before the Zondo Commission in January is included under Bosasa.

The book is available in good bookstores. The Pretoria News is hosting a book launch on April 9. For a chance to attend, please email [email protected]