After Mandela: The Battle for the Soul of South Africa

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9780091926021: After Mandela: The Battle for the Soul of South Africa

"A brisk, lively and vividly written portrait of post-apartheid South Africa" Peter Godwin, author of Mukiwa

In the early 1990s, the African National Congress, led by Nelson Mandela, engaged in a historic and peaceful transition to power in South Africa. For some, the story of South Africa ended with that moment - the victory of the ANC over the bitter injustice of the apartheid regime, and Mandela's astonishing mission of reconciliation.

Yet while the economy has grown steadily, as has a fledgling middle class, and black South Africans have attained positions of great wealth and power, rampant inequality still remains. Violence is endemic in the townships and in the major cities. Race relations are fraught as whites struggle to find their place in the new order. President Thabo Mbeki's denial of the AIDS epidemic has led to tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths and been morally and politically disastrous. Mbeki's failure to check the abuses of Robert Mugabe's dictatorship in Zimbabwe has tarnished South Africa's reputation abroad and baffled Mbeki's former friends.

South Africa should be the continent's greatest hope, yet it stands at a crossroads as it faces its most serious test since the end of white rule. Uncertainty over its trajectory intensified with the election of Jacob Zuma, a charismatic populist who is embroiled in a corruption scandal, as Mandela's second successor as leader of the ANC, in 2007. This controversial choice unleashed turmoil within Africa's grandest liberation movement. Might it also signal the start of an unhappy new chapter in the post-apartheid story? The collapse of neighbouring Zimbabwe is a chilling example of how a revolutionary party can ossify in power and lose sight of its ideals. The journey from Mandela to Zuma is a political and moral epic, populated with extraordinary characters, and with the fate of South Africa at its core

In this expertly researched and beautifully told account, award-winning journalist Alec Russell draws on his deep knowledge of South Africa and his relationships with its most important figures - Mbeki, Zuma, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and of course Mandela himself - to address the questions facing the nation. At a turbulent time for many African countries as they emerge into the second phase of the post-independence era, this book will have a wide appeal for Africa-watchers everywhere.

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Product Description:

Paperback. Pub Date: 2009 Pages: 320 Publisher: Hutchinson A isk. Lively and vividly written portrait of post-Apartheid South Africa Peter Godwin author of Mukiwa In the early 1990s The African National Congress led by Nelson Mandela. engaged in a historic and peaceful transition to power in South Africa. For some. the story of South Africa ended with that moment - the victory of the ANC over the bitter injustice of the apartheid regime. and Mandela's astonishing mission of reconciliation. Yet while the economy has grown steadily. as has a fledgling middle class. and black South Africans have attained positions of great wealth and power. rampant inequality still remains. Violence is endemic in the townships and in the major cities. Race relations are fraught as whites struggle to find their place in the new order. President Thabo Mbeki's denial of the AIDS epidemic has led t...

Review:

" Gripping, lively and immensely readable." (David Blair Daily Telegraph)

"An informative, nuanced, and provocative end-of-era report ... Layered with anecdote, historical background and close scrutiny of recent events ... After Mandela is a valuable contribution to the debate about the future of the rainbow nation. Alec Russell has looked at the country with a sympathetic and knowledgeable eye and he leaves his reader with a deep understanding of the challenges to come." (Gillian Slovo Financial Times)

" Insightful, sometimes humorous, sometimes bleak ... Alive with delicious vignettes across a range of humanity" ( The Economist)

" This is the book we have all been waiting for - the book that takes us beyond the easy assumptions and lazy comfort of the Mandela era and into what Alec Russell calls the second struggle. Eloquently he shows how transforming the magic of freedom into a nuts-and-bolts change in the lives of ordinary people is turning out to be far more difficult than anyone could have imagined. The strength and power of Russell's book lies not just in the big - and often disturbing - conclusions he has reached but in the little details that have got him to that point. This is not a book written from afar . . . After Mandela could only have been written by a man who actually cares about what happens to the people he has met on his journey through South Africa's recent history" (George Alagiah)

"Russell does not pull punches in describing the widespread disillusionment ... but he does seek to put the ruling party's shortcomings in context" ( Observer)

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