Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reality Check for Liberals
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,...
Published on 14 May 2009 by M. Steele

3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Disappointed that the illustrations are not in color as in the original edition.
Published 7 months ago by hank starrett

‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reality Check for Liberals, 14 May 2009
M. Steele (Komatipoort, South Africa) - See all my reviews
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AVID READER am, 25 April 2010
Alek A. Missankov "avid reader am" (norfolk , UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: South Africa's Brave New World: The Beloved Country Since the End of Apartheid (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 .
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars South Africa's brave new world, 24 Jan. 2011
This review is from: South Africa's Brave New World: The Beloved Country Since the End of Apartheid (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!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 1994 and all that, 31 Dec. 2010
D. B. Tootill (Northcliff, Gauteng South Africa) - See all my reviews
This review is from: South Africa's Brave New World: The Beloved Country Since the End of Apartheid (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?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping read, 18 Aug. 2010
This review is from: South Africa's Brave New World: The Beloved Country Since the End of Apartheid (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)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lengthy anti-ANC polemic, 15 April 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Post-Apartheid South Africa: Total Failure !!, 3 July 2014
Mr. D. J. Walford (Lancashire, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: South Africa's Brave New World: The Beloved Country Since the End of Apartheid (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. Mbeki was also to have little time for the current leader; Jacob Zuma, whom he considered to be an uneducated peasant yob. The fact that Zuma is a Zulu is greeted with little enthusiasm by some within the government, not to mention his promiscuous behaviour being viewed as a backward example of ancient African traditions.

Overall, Johnson paints a bleak picture of a government whose operatives are only concerned with creating the African 'Big Man' persona, increasing personal bank accounts with little interest in providing for those it claims to represent. The ANC is also actively discriminating against whites of all backgrounds (not to mention Coloureds and Indians) which only adds to the drain of capable minds who are leaving the country in droves. This is an excellent work and I cannot recommend it enough.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book that answered all my questions!, 16 Aug. 2011
J. Pretorius - See all my reviews
This book not only answered my questions but it allowed me to see into the future of South Africa. This book is a "must read" for any South African who wants answers as to why things occurred so disastrously from '94 onwards. It is also a book that every South African should read at least once in their life!

I truly fear for my country in the hands of the Afro-Nazi regime and pray that it is not too late to sway this country away from a Zimbabwe-style catasrophic ending. Only time will tell as to what will happen but unfortunately Africa is never on anyone's agenda.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

5.0 out of 5 stars The sad decay of a South Africa which was pregnant with opportunity., 22 Mar. 2013
Mark Stewart "mlstolive" (Lausanne, Vaude Switzerland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: South Africa's Brave New World: The Beloved Country Since the End of Apartheid (Paperback)
Mr Johnson is passionate about his work, as he has every right to be. The ANC held the ostensible morale high ground with its mantra's of non racialism, equal opportunity amongst the races and a panorama that would include all its peoples in a rainbow nation. That has not happened. Johnson reveals through a profound analysis written with a pace and anger, occassional bitterness of all that lost opportunity as the party of liberation mestastized into a parasitic one ever hungering for more undeserved riches, claimed as a function of past guilt , white guilt, colonial guilt and guilt that would work. The reintroduction of a racialized society akin to its predecessor but so much more crueler. Johnson expands at length the degree to which life expectancy has dropped, education standards decreased, crime soared, in fact on every level of measure of governance the ANC has been found wanting. The Mbeki fostered genocide of HIV positive people mainly black was made possible through his disreguard for the distribution of proper medication instead profferring the benfits of the beetrrot and African potatoe as cures this is well exposed... No Mr Johnson has written what must be one of the most courageous pieces of journalism on this period. He has sifted through countless sources. The research is evident in a consistent manner but does not detract from the flow and pace of the book. It is lengthy and absorbing. Ones come away feeling enlightened and saddenned. At least all those with a morale compass of some order will. If you want to peer behind the veil of what is South Africa now, start by investing your time into reading this book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reality Check for Radicals, 18 July 2009
Dr Selim Yusuf Gool "Sel" (Rauland, Telemark, Norway) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Of the brace of new books available on the new South Africa, only two or three are remarkabe for their insights and penetrating political analysis. More recent biographies of ex-President Thabo Mbeki (Gumede and Gevisser), present President Jacob Zuma (Gordin) and former ANC MP 'Mac' Maharaj (O'Malley) provide a look into the inner workings of the ruling African National Congress.
I can recommend the following works. In his study of corruption in the ANC in government, 'Eye on the Money: One Man's Crusade against Corruption' (Umuzi, Johannesburg, 2007), the anti-apartheid banker Terry Crawford-Browne writes that the 'arms deal' is 'central to the succession crisis that dominates the ANC', while Andrew Feinstein's 'After the Party: A Personal and Political Journal Inside the ANC' (2007, 2009), is in fact an 'insider' expose of the wheeling n' dealing behind the 'arms deal', "which has poisoned the whole political system".

The latter quote is from R. W. ('Bill') Johnson's tour de force of 646 pages, 'South Africa's Brave New World - The Beloved Country since the End of Apartheid', on the last page in fact. The cover blurb says it all: "(this) new book tells the story of South Africa from the magic period from 1994 to the bitter disappointment of the present ... At the heart of the book lies the ruinous figure of Thabo Mbeki, whose over-reaching ambitions led to catastrophic failure on almost every front ... As Johnston makes clear ... Mbeki may have contributed more than anyone else to bringing South Africa to 'failed state' status, but he had plenty of help." Johnston, a Durban-born Rhodes scholar and Oxford tutor, he was a correspondent to the London Sunday Times and a prolific commentator on South Africa. This book is the result of many of those ascerbic commentaries over a 15-20 year period.

Chapter 2 "Godfathers and Assasins" breaks new ground and presents a 'Liberation Movement' that as soon as it came into power prostrated itself at the feet of Johannesburg's white corporate capital, not only its more respectable face in Gavin Relly of the mining and finance giant Anglo-American, or the insurance magnate Donny Gordan of Liberty Life Foundation, but the likes of hotel, retail bottlestore, casino magnate and sleaze merchant Sol Kerzner and late Afrikaner rebel mining hustler Brett Kebble. Soon ANC notables were involved in the gambling, casino, crime and prostitution penumbra, with Kerzner as a major 'Godfather of the Nation'.
A new African kleptocracy was being born while "Die Stem" was still hanging in the air! The rest is history, as they say. Sleaze, undercover operations and character assinations (and 'real' ones) became part of the ANC's modus operandi in power. "Ideology" and the once professed goals of poverty amelioration and a "Better Life for All" (ANCs election slogan of 1994), was soon pushed aside as monetary "self-interest", or plain "greed", took its place as "an (African) nationalist bourgeoisie was simply replacing an old (Afrikaner) nationalist bourgeoisie at the helm of the state" (p. 17). b
Central to this new orientation was 'bra' (Brother) Joe Modisie, gangster, boxer, truck-driver, football player, Mandela's chaffeur and co-founder of Umkhonto we Sizwe, later being its Commander-in-Chief and later Minister of Defense in the new South Africa. He was thus a central figure in the 'arms deal' scandal, allegedly getting a R 10 million bribe for his facilitating role. He died a very rich man with a contested Estate.

But he was also a police spy and double-agent. "The big question about Modise was whether, like so many in the ANC, he was actually a spy for the other side. Or other sides, for once an ANC activist had decided to pass intelligence to 'the Boers', it usually followed that he was ready to make sinmilar deals with the CIA, MI5 etc.The evidence against Modise is overwhelming ... [p. 31]. Everything about their life in exile and Modise's post-1994 career also suggests that Modise and [T] Nkobi were both informants for the apartheid security police. Certainly, when I (R W Johnston) interviewed operatives of the old apartheid security police (some by then in Mbeki's employ), I found they universally agreed that Modise had been a police informer."

His career in many ways throws light on the unwritten history and trajectory of the African National Congress in exile and Jonhston ironically names him as "The Father of the New South Africa" (pp.46-48). Fellow gangsters like Thomas Nkobi and Alfred Nzo were also to have highly placed positions in the movement, while KwaZulu Natal Stalinist "hardliner" Harry Gwala and his protege Jacob Zuma were to put their own militaristic stamp on the armed strugles of the youth in the late 1980s.
Now with Zuma as President, will the pendulum swing in the direction of dictatorship and a 'hard line'? There had always "co-existed" many political ideologies and class trajectories in the ANC. However, there was only one force that held "real" power and dictated "policy" in the years of exile since the early 1960s: the South African Communist Party (SACP). This became clear when the "exiles" returned home and put their indelible "stamp" on the proceedings. The UDF was soon disbanded.

In the preceeding 20-30 years inside South Africa, and especially during the United Democratic Front period from the early 1980s, democracy was a process of constant practise and renewal, of recall and election, of negotiation between the leaders and the led, of constant checks and balances. This led to a culture of endless consultation and a living memory of 'grass-roots democracy', 'inclusivity' and above all, non-racialism.

It was primarily Nelson Mandela who symbolically represented the non-racialism of the earlier generation of the 1950s - of continuity with this now geriatric generation of the Freedom Charter and of its universalistic and 'inclusive' ethos. And this was what the whole "progressive world" cheered on and politically and materially supported "unconditionally".

The 'exiled' ANC was a totally different animal. The ANC-in-exile was above all keen to maintain "monolithic unity". This included a mix of East European Leninist-Party undemocratic Bureaucratic Centralism (bequethed to them by their political mentors in the NKVD/GPU/KGB and Stasi), coupled with liberal 'charm-offensives' adapted for their North European social-democratic and liberal middle-class supporters, through blandishments and exhortations, selfless idealism and self-sacrifice from (expendable) footsoldiers, who worked unceasingly but with a blinkered focus. Few critical questions were ever raised about the conditions in the ANC/MK camps and "re-education" centres in Angola and Tanzania in the 1980s.
But when the 'exiles' returned, and especially in the Mbeki presidency from 2000-2008, this 'reflex Leninism' and its version of "Party-substitutionism", and its undemocratic closed and secrect world, and the ANCs "cadre deployment" policy became the hallmark of the Mbeki-era's presidential style. Mbeki's later quite open paranoia and vindictive skull-duggery against opponents, primarily Jacob Juma, came out into the open in his second term when he used the National Prosecuting Authority and various "spook" units of the National Intelligence Agency under his control.

Johnston presents an array of facts and figures, as well as poweful arguments which support his central theses. He brings new facts to light in his analysis of "the Plague", the HIV/Aids pandemic, and shows that it was not an isolated abberation when Mbeki apparently adopted the "denialist" position and he and his two Health Ministers prevented the distribution of pre- and antenatal retrovirals, leading to the claim of "genocide" by many in the TAC, Treatment Action Campaign. Many thousands of young pregnant mothers and others infected by HIV-virus died as a result of not been treated in time during this period. Mbeki and his Ministers have been let off the hook.

To my mind, his analysis of the "Affirmative Action" (more correctly the "Africanization of the public sector") and the Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) [or the 'Blackening' of the private sector) policies stand out as quite exceptional.
I will present the main points of his analysis in the following.

The ANC had been constructed on the premise and assumption of non-racialism and this was obviously inconsistent with racial favouritism. Under apartheid, Africans had longed for merit, not race, to count, this being their definition of fainess and a just, democratic society. Now this was to change. Not only should 'Blacks' be given preference when other criteria were equal but in practise whole categories of jobs were simple closed to whites ('Caucasians') [as well as Indians ('Asians') and Coloureds ('mixed race')]. Every institution's workforce should mirror the nation's demography and this led to a 'preferencial system' that systematically excluded other 'minorities'. A de facto 'job-reservation' policy based on 'racial criteria'.

Now the public service policy was reversed from 'non-racialism' to a re-introduction of "race" as the defining characteristic. It came at a high political and economic cost that even their main architechts now admit. Racial criteria were enforced through the public sector to the point where the 'minorities' often simply did not apply for jobs there. But similar pressures were felt in the private sector too, as companies sought desperately to achieve the 'right' demographic balance or company profile.

Given the shortage of black skilled manpower, the large 'white-owned' companies often paid exorbitant and racially discriminatory salaries to get the black workforce it needed. A strata of aggressive professional Black Yuppies reaped all the benefits as a result. With freshly-minted MBAs tucked under their arms, they 'job-hopped' at will to new lucrative pastures like a flock of locusts looking for new "green fields" to occupy. They had no feeling for company loyalty or regard for productivity.

In effect, apartheid-style job reservation was re-introduced throught the public service. "Playing the 'race card'" became the new ("old") name of the game. The key question became whether a person or institution had been 'historically disadvantaged': this, rather than performance, capacity or ability (i.e. 'skill'), now determined who got the job, contract or grant. Inevitably, the better jobs, salaries and benefits went to the less qualified and less skilled ('historically disadvantaged'). Inevitably standards fell in the public service.
Coupled with the crippling effects of non-maintenence and repair of essential services, lack of investments in infrastructure and managerial 'mismanagement' (appropriation of public funds, looting and theft), this had disasterous results.

This was an inversion of functionality which not only carried a high price in itself but it also made it clear to to job recipients that it was their skin colour, their previous 'historic disavantages', that was being rewarded rather than any merit principle or skill qualification.
"Crony Capitalism" had worked for the Afrikaners, 'die volk', since the 1930s wave of ethnic nationalist mobilization - national savings, banks, insurance companies, construction companies were then harnesed to the Afrikaner ox-waggon to pull the 'volk' out of the social desitution of "poor white-ism" into a Brave New World of urban jobs and urban oportunities in the municipal, local and state bureaucries, the public sector, the army/police force. And it worked, especially after 1948 with Malan's Nationalist Party victory .

Thus under apartheid, South Africa was ruled not only by a racial oligarchy but by a narrow Afrikaner elite and its crony network in the state and soon also the priavte sector. To maintain this ediface, the elaborate system of Bantu education, the re-tribalization of black society in Bantustans and the suppression a black business class was persued vigorously. As a result, at the onset on liberation in the early 1990s, the black professional elite and middle class sought profound changes in their situation. To be sure, they were going to copy and outdo the Afrikaners in all their endevours.

Until the 1990s, capital, shaped by the restrictive laws of apartheid, was predominantly in white hands (also to a lesser extent in 'Asian/Indian' and Jewish hands). Among blacks, there was a small professional class, a handfull of entrepreneurs based in the 'homelands', and some small competitive business people who served the black market in the townships (butchers, spaza shopkeepers, grocery stores). When formal apartheid ended, there was virtually no black business class at all. The time had come for "transformation" chimed ANC politicians and BEE their legal State route to "enrichment", but only for a few of the well-connected moguls.

'White' capital was highly concentrated, with six (often competing but also interlocking) conglomerates, based in minerals, energy production and finance that dominated the economy. A few large firms also controlled key consumer sectors like food, beverages, automobiles and retail (often again linked to the former conglomerates), but smaller companies and enterprises occured in the competitive consumer goods sectors like clothing and foodstuffs. Farming ("large-scale" and white that is) was heavily subsidized and mechanized, with pricing policy controlled by the state, and loans by the Afrikaner-owned banks.

In sum, South Africa's political economy continues to revolve around an odd combination of new political power (and patronage) without money and old money without power, each needing the other to advance its interests. This is structurally disposed to advance corruption, which had become an 'incestuous relationship'.

And for the common man/woman/family on the street there has been only slight improvement: "Between 1994 and 2007 the ANC built 2.6 million houses. The number of homes with electricity doubled to 8.8 million. By 2007, over 87 per cent of people had access to clean running water. As of March 2008, 14.1 million people in South Africa were benefiting from the largest social welfare programme in sub-Saharan Africa" [Alec Russel, p. 93, 2009].

Now, although there has been a substantial improvement in African housing, however, the mass building of low-cost RDP houses [called "bush kennels"] being built by the ANC: "were smaller and of poorer quality than the houses built by the apatrheid government. Under apartheid [the people] had fought against the building of five-hundred-square-foot houses. 'They were an insult. Now the [ANC] government is building us even smaller ones'" [A. Russel, p.95].
Residents thus complain about inferior, substandard housing and of a huge demand, despite attempts at the the 'upgrading' of many squatter camps: tarred roads, proper sanitation and electricity provision, however patchy, uneven and insufficient.
Alec Russel was a correspondent of the London Financial Times, who first come to South Africa in 1994 and whose interviews and on-the-spot reports makes his one of the more illuminating of the books named above. His focus, not surprisingly, is on the economics of the current transition process and he presents much in the way of statistical evidence to bolster his arguments. In the end, he too, like Johnston, can be described as a "pessimist". And both look to regulated 'social liberal' market solutions.

There has been noticeable slides in the standards in public health and education (which already started at a low level). Life expectancy has fallen sharply among Africans and South Africa has actually fallen backwards in the UNDP Human Development Index.

The huge burgeoning squatter camps outside most urban core regions are a volatile mix of rural internal migrants, foreign refugees and entrepreneurs ["street vendors", petty commodity craftspeople, etc] with the occasional flaring-up of so-called xenophobic slaughter of 'the usual suspects' by necklacing, burning down of shacks and revenge killings. Much of this remains hidden and hence unreported.
Township residents are genuinely angry at the lack of better housing, sewerage, schooling and roads and the huge increase in crime and lawlessness. There is little sence of civic responsibility or even of the need to obey the law - a Wild West scenario that overspills the squatter camps into the more respectable middle class suburbs where the 'pickings' are greater.

The man-in-the-street bribes policemen and Home Affairs officials and bureaucrats; makes illegal telephone, water and electricity connections; refuses to pay for television licenses or rates. It is a culture of non-payment for services that has a long history in the townships. Steps to reverse this trend have not been very successful.

Township citizens defend his/her 'right' to do so by accusing fingers pointed at 'The Fat-Cat Politicians' "who are openly stealing", the culture of 'enrich yourselves' of the new black elite who have physically moved from the overcrowded, dangerous ghettos and of the 'culture of entitlement' that followed on the post-apartheid dispensation.
It is unlikely that Jacob Zuma and his erstwhile Leftist allies can change this situation. The slogan: "Phansi ngo Mbeki, Phambili ngo Zuma" ["Down with Mbeki, Up with Zuma"] had become popular with the downfall of the former unpopular, defeated and deposed President Thabo Mbeki in 2007.
Little has been heard of the latter who once spoke boldly of an "African Renaissance" and an African Inititive to Africa's problems. His seminal role in initiating and closing the Arms Deal is still to be investigated. Hopefully he will not escape the juridical net, where powerful political forces, as described by Feinstein (2009) and Crawford-Browne (2007) are at play with a desperate 'cover-up' operation.

The ANC contained many things: principled heroism, idealistic pawns and Stalinist appartchicks, political opportunists and plain thuggery. The poisoning of popular MK commander Thami Zulu [real name Muziwakhe Ngwenya, known as "TZ"] was not an isolated incident. With many competing ideological influences, political and social forces to balance and appease, it will be a stormy and petulant period in South African politics we will now witness.
ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema, backed up by Zwelinzima Vavi, chief of the Congress of Trade Unions, two of Zuma's strongest backers, have recently called for the "nationalisation" of the mining industry (they possibly mean its total "statization"), sparking off a debate that is as old as the Freedom Charter of 1956. But "Politics in Command!" eshews such serious discussion, where "quick-fix" solutions and "slogans" are the order of the day. Reason will be the first casualty. The South African economy the next.

But on the other side of the coin the media speaks of a 'new Zulu kleptocracy', of the Nkandla Mafia (Zuma's homelands base in the rural Midlands of Natal), black businesmen based in KwaZulu Natal who hope that the State's partonage and reward system will now 'trickle down' towards Zulu's and not Xhosas only this time. We will see!
The South African police measured more than 30,000 "gatherings'' - 15 or more people in some form of protest, for which permission is typically applied for a week ahead of time - from 2004-08. Of these, 10 per cent generated "unrest''.
The centralization of power under the President's office was well under way under Mbeki and now the Big Man has asssumed power, can we now expect a corresponding development of "African Despotism" as the ANC struggles to maintain political hegemony in a disintegrating social environment, through thuggery, authoritarianism and a semi-militarist dictatorship?
A bemused and bewilded Tata Nelson Mandela celebrated his 91st birthday recently - he might have been thinking: "Now where is South Africa heading under this new ANC team?". Many of us share this sentiment.

South Africa braces itself for the coming World Cup Soccer extravaganza, July-August 2010. In 2006, the Jo'burg FNB Stadium and 5 new stadiums were to be built/upgraded, at a cost, then of R 9.1 billion. Since then the costs have escallated: the rand has fallen and on-site strikes and industrial protests about low wages had hampered the completion of these stadiums.
Maybe football sports-fans may re-think their planned trip down to South Africa next year, but as we all know, the "show must go on" ...


Andrew Feinstein (2007, 2009): After the Party: A Personal and Political Journal Inside the ANC, Johannesburg and London.
Mark Gevisser (2007): Thabo Mbeki - The Dream Deferred, Cape Town.
Jeremy Gordin (2008): Zuma: A Biography, Jonathan Ball, Cape Town.
Willian Gumede (2005): Thabo Mbeki and the Battle for the Soul of the ANC, Jacanda Press, Cape Town.
R.W. Johnston (2009): South Africa's Brave New World - The Beloved Country since the End of Apartheid, Allen Lane/Penguin Books, London.
Padrig O'Malley (2007): Shades of Difference - Mac Maharaj and the Strugge for South Africa, .
Alec Russell (2009): After Mandela - The Battle for the Soul of South Africa, Hutchinson, London.
Roger Southall (2008): 'The ANC for Sale? Money, Morality & Business in South Africa', Review of African Political Economy, No. 116:pps. 2881-299.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

South Africa's Brave New World: The Beloved Country Since the End of Apartheid
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews