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South Africa's Brave New World: The Beloved Country Since the End of Apartheid Paperback – 25 Mar 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 752 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (25 Mar. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141000325
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141000329
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 232,114 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

A relentless and pulverising polemic against the ruling African National Congress and virtually all of its leading lights (Economist)

[A] ripping audit of the post-apartheid settlement ... especially good at skewering Mbeki's "Africanist" rhetoric (Stephen Robinson Sunday Times)

Offers glorious detail on the political infighting and Mbeki's vindictive style of government (Chris McGreal Observer)

Review

'Johnson names names and spells out amounts ... there are landmines scattered throughout ... not a comfortable wrap up'
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By M. Steele VINE VOICE on 14 May 2009
Format: Hardcover
What has to be recognised at the outset is that nothing in this book provides (or seeks to provide) an apologia for Apartheid. The demise of whites only rule in South Africa remains an inspriring chapter in the annals of human social development. However, much less inspring and detailed here, is South Africa's decline into a land mediocrity, corruption, low expectations, criminality absurdist political posturing and in-fighting. The character of Thabo Mbeki takes centre stage in this sorry tale: a man with chips on both shoulders, a hugely inflated sense of his own intellect and a paranoia that would brook no political opposition. That the ANC have discarded him can only be seen as positive and we can only hope that Zuma's new dispensation sees some return to the optimistic dreams of ninety-four.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Alek A. Missankov on 25 April 2010
Format: Paperback
I am one of those thousands of health professionals who left South Africa and headed for the " Bright Shores " of England. This does not make me happy. Reading this thoroughly researched volume , I cannot classify it as anything but a blistering indictment on past and present ANC governments . I fear the future appears even more bleak .
You can feel the pain of the author as he describes , sometimes in exhaustive detail , the widespread incompetance , indifference , self serving egotism permeating through the land we love . I would be very curious to find out the reaction to this book in SA.
I feel nothing but sadness reading this book . The Beloved Country is no more .
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By helmut on 24 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback
It took me quite some time to read this book. The amount of detailed knowledge of the author relating to the recent developments in South Africa is absolutely amazing, I would say it just overwhelms you. I often found it hard going trying to digest it all, particularly remembering all the names of the leading African actors.

The book basically centers on the period in which Thabo Mbeki occupied the presidency of post-apartheid South Africa. It makes you sad reading how one tried to turn the clocks backward in trying to make South Africa look more African. All in all, one gains the impression that South African whites have no future there. The book also dwells heavily on corruption and governmental inefficiencies, the growing crime problem and health issues such as the HIV problem. The presidency of Jacob Zuma is only touched very briefly at the end of the book.
All in all, the book makes you sometimes feel very depressed, as little hope is offered for the future in South Africa.

I would recommend the book to anyone trying to be up to date on African developments, however, prepare yourselves for some depressing stories!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By D. B. Tootill on 31 Dec. 2010
Format: Paperback
The book is a coherent, relentless, instant history- nothing new if you have read the newspapers, no Wikileaks here, but with many references in support. It is very aggressive and pointed. However even in some new editions over the last 2 years the author has not yet been taken to court, unlike the cartoonist Zapiro.
Read between the lines & then google about issues like the Nats' leader marrying the wife of an ANC arms deal broker, and in another context the bill to the taxpayer for Johnnie Walker Blue Label whilst surfing the internet about HIV/AIDS.
Essentially the message is that since 1994 (not to say if not before) corruption is endemic, and the ANC moral high ground is long gone.
The book disputes the old cliches about Nelson Mandela, and whether the Scorpions were some sort of angelic FBI clone.
There was always one view that South Africa was too big to succumb to African continent-type presidential pillage.
The real question is, by when will the South African piggy bank be emptied?
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By AndrewP on 18 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback
A well-constructed book which dishes the dirt on the Mbeki regime.
You need to be at home with South African political acronyms (not all of which are in the glossary)
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Frederick St John Smythe on 15 April 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Johnson doesn't hold back in this book. It is the work of a sincere, anti-apartheid liberal who has grown profoundly frustrated at the mis-rule of the ANC. He analyses the ANC's failings in very great detail, at times perhaps too much detail for a non-South African reader unfamiliar with all the various actors. At times, the negativity can seem somewhat relentless and one occasionally wonders whether Johnson gives the ANC too little credit for South Africa's successes since 1994, most notably the relatively sensible economic policies of Trevor Manuel.

The book is most enlightening when analysing Thabo Mbeki's psychological make-up. Johnson outlines a disturbed, paranoid individual whose "colonial mindset" prevented him from confronting reality. Those puzzled by Mbeki's AIDS-denialism and refusal to confront Robert Mugabe will find their answers here.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. D. J. Walford on 3 July 2014
Format: Paperback
One would have been forgiven for thinking that the South Africa which was to emerge from the ashes of Apartheid was to be a beacon of hope and prosperity for all citizens of the Rainbow Nation... This was not to be the case. Johnson describes an emerging nation disintegrating under the weight of apathy, white emigration and complete, total and considerable ANC corruption. This is not a pretty study, but an honest and brutal portrayal of just how wrong the ANC have been in running the country.

Johnson pulls no punches with his delivery of how South Africa went from being a White supremacist state to a corrupt and racist state where the ANC elite were to be concerned with nothing more than lining their own pockets and promoting their friends to power. Mandela was to be a front, a president with little impact on government process or policy with Thabo Mbeki the power behind the throne. Mbeki himself is described as a borderline psychotic with delusions of grandeur. An AIDS denialist who cared little about providing genuine relief for the nation's HIV sufferers. Under him, AIDS numbers rocketed, nepotism grew and crime and disorder ballooned to the point where South African society was to almost collapse. Mbeki's support for Zimbabwe is also covered in depth and discredits him considerably due to his unrestricted support of the total madman that is Robert Mugabe.

Indeed, Mbeki plays a huge role in Johnson's work and is the focal point for all that has been bad about the ANC: Corruption, dishonesty, racism and an elitist attitude which makes the Apartheid leadership look positively nice !! Johnson repeatedly comes back to how Mbeki has come to epitomise all that is wrong with the ANC leadership.
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