About the book:

South Africa remains a deeply unequal society battling the legacy of apartheid and the persistence of corrupt networks that seek to ‘capture’ its democratically elected leaders. As Hennie van Vuuren of Open Secrets argues, in the absence of accountability, corrupt networks of the past stay in business. Rather than face justice, they invite members of the new elite to the table.
In over 600 pages, this meticulously researched book finally lifts the lid on some of the darkest secrets of apartheid’s economic crimes, weaving together a treasure trove of newly declassified documents and eyewitness accounts. This is an exposé of the machinery created in defence of apartheid and in support of sanctions busting and the people who profited: heads of states, arms dealers, aristocrats, plutocrats, senators, bankers, spies, journalists and members of secret lobby groups. In creating the apartheid arms money machine they were complicit in a crime against humanity. Whistleblowers were assassinated and ordinary people suffered. Finally, this network of profit is revealed.

In forging its future, a new generation of South Africans need to grapple with the baffling silence regarding apartheid-era economic crime and ask difficult questions of those who profited from it. This book provides the evidence and the motivation to do so.

What others say:

When secretive evil deeds are covered in darkness they prosper. This work shines a light, revealing many uncomfortable truths.” ~ Thuli Madonsela, Former Public Protector

Apartheid Guns and Money… is probably the single most important book that has been written about South Africa for the last 20 years.” ~ Professor Achille Mbembe, WiSER, author of ‘On the Postcolony’

A brilliant urgent account of our history” ~ Redi Thlabi, author of Endings and Beginnings

This important book seeks to uncover one of the key secrets of the last decades of the apartheid era. [It’s] a timely reminder that the founding values of our new Constitution are key to building a democracy.” ~ Justice Kate O’Regan, former judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa

van Vuuren shows that the struggle against corruption is indeed a human rights struggle and that, as we know from South Africa’s own history, it can be won. But it must be fought for.” ~ Jacob Dlamini, author of Askari

In this brilliant, revelatory book van Vuuren forensically reveals the systemic corruption of apartheid and the collusion between the state, local and foreign businesses and governments at its core. This dark chapter in our history is essential to understand and progress beyond the current spiral of corruption, collusion and state capture that bedevils our young democracy. This is a crucial book at a vital time in our history. It is a must read!” ~ Andrew Feinstein, former ANC MP, author of The Shadow World

“A labour of political passion, this admirably well-researched book is a must-read. Its most important achievement is to show that illicit trade does not occur in some parallel realm detached from corporate boardrooms and governments; it is stitched into the fabric of statecraft and the exercise of power.”  ~ Jonny Steinberg, author and Professor of African Studies, Oxford University

“Apartheid Guns and Money is one of the most fascinating and important South African books to be published since the dawn of democracy.” ~ Lloyd Gedye, Finweek Magazine

“The book is set to be a hot read, and is reminiscent of something straight out of a James Bond movie, with tales of collusions and corruption from the highest order at the forefront of many deals which were brokered during the apartheid regime.” ~ Avantika Singh, City Press:

“It’s staggering the amount of work [Hennie Van Vuuren] and [his] research teams have gone through to put this together.” ~ John Maytham, Cape Talk Radio:

“R2K salutes the research team of Open Secrets South Africa for their commitment in unearthing the truth. We are very proud to call them comrades! Ongazi Makazi!” ~ Statement by the Right2Know Campaign

Apartheid Guns and Money”, for my money, should be on the list of prescribed books for high school students in Grades 11 and 12 as well as university students, especially those majoring in political science, economics and forensic investigations.” ~ Kim Helfrich, DefenceWeb


This book is accompanied by a series of graphics, the treasure maps that help explain much of the content of the book. They were designed by Gaelen Pinnock of Scarlet Studio.
Please note that the graphics are not available in the Kindle version and can be accessed here for ease of reference. Kindly attribute the publication if posted elsewhere.

  1. The Tale of Profit in Numbers
  2. An Atlas of Apartheid Allies
  3. Oiling Apartheid
  4. The Secret State
  5. The Arms Money Machine
  6. The Paris Arms Bazaar
  7. Behind the Iron Curtain
  8. The American Dream
  9. The United Kingdom
  10. On the Silk Road
  11. Proxies, Players and Pariahs
  12. The Tale of Profit Timeline
  13. The Long Shadow in Numbers
  14. ZIP File of all the graphics