The Battle for the Soul of South Africa
The definitive book on post-apartheid South Africa from an award winning journalist
South Africa is facing the most serious threat to its stability since the end of apartheid.
For some, the story of South Africa ended when Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress declared victory over the bitter injustice of the apartheid regime. But despite Mandela’s mission of reconciliation and the progress he and others have made, rampant inequality remains; violence is endemic in the townships and race relations are fraught as whites struggle to find their place in the new order. With the election of Jacob Zuma, a charismatic populist embroiled in a corruption scandal, in 2007, uncertainty over the trajectory of the nation has only intensified.
South Africa now stands at a crossroads, and award-winning journalist Alec Russell draws on his deep knowledge of the country to tell us how it got there, and give us a compelling account of the journey from Mandela to Zuma.
“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
“Russell does not pull punches in describing the widespread disillusionment ... but he does seek to put the ruling party's shortcomings in context”
“Insightful, sometimes humorous, sometimes bleak ... Alive with delicious vignettes across a range of humanity”
“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.”
“Exciting contemporary history, a must for anyone concerned with what is happening now. Scathing in his criticism of newly rich magnates, he also exposes the two-faced liberals”
“A brisk, lively and vividly written portrait of post-apartheid South Africa”
Peter Godwin, author of Mukiwa
“Gripping, lively and immensely readable”
David Blair, Daily Telegraph