Apartheid fell, and the 'rainbow nation' emerged, with the release of Nelson Mandela in February 1990 and the subsequent free, and open, democratic elections across South Africa in 1994; these elections followed multi-party negotiations between multiple political organizations that had recently been decriminalized. Muslims played key roles not only during the formative period of post-apartheid South Africa, but also in the struggle against the Apartheid regime. Even today, in the midst of South Africa's re-emergence onto the global scene and against the backdrop of transnational Islamic discourses, Muslims -- even as minorities -- continue to influence the shaping of South Africa.
This context provides the frame of reference for Goolam Vahed's Muslim Portraits: The Anti-Apartheid Struggle (Madiba Publishers, 2012), which compiles various narratives and stories of Islamic leaders in the struggle to assert non-racial politics in South Africa. Recently, I had the honor of publishing a review of the book for the Journal of Islamic Studies out of The University of Cape Town, South Africa (you can find the review HERE). I found the book enlightening, gripping, and relevant insofar as it illumines the political efforts of Muslims beyond the pale of jihad and mass uprisings we too often assume as the modus operandi of Muslim political efforts.
One of the strengths of the book is its ability to humanize the anti-apartheid struggle and highlight the role that many Muslims played in toppling the racist regime. As I wrote in my review, in so doing, "the text provides a rich mosaic of various Muslim interlocutors involved in the struggle against Apartheid, including converts and immigrants, Sowetan doctors and ANC politicians, feminist activists and armed rebels, cricket players and chemists."
I encourage you to read more about the book, check out my quick review, and learn more about a) the many biographies of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa and b) the wide variety of Muslim political action in the contemporary scene.