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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful insight into a troubled country
Although this is a long book(548 pages)it is well worth taking time to get acquainted. Dervla Murphy has an uncanny knack of getting right to the root of a country's personality and problems and here she displays all her talents to the full. She is no romanticist and gives you a very balanced picture of a situation. An extra bonus with this book is photographs -...
Published on 19 April 2001

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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A flawed insight
South Africa is a wonderful country and I had the great fortune to live and work there for two years. During this time I travelled thousands of miles, saw much of the country, and met a great many people from all backgrounds. It is a complex country full of contradictions that can assault one's sensibilities. There can be few other countries in the world where the...
Published on 31 May 1999


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful insight into a troubled country, 19 April 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: South from the Limpopo (Paperback)
Although this is a long book(548 pages)it is well worth taking time to get acquainted. Dervla Murphy has an uncanny knack of getting right to the root of a country's personality and problems and here she displays all her talents to the full. She is no romanticist and gives you a very balanced picture of a situation. An extra bonus with this book is photographs - something we don't often get from this author!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars South from the Limpopo - a personal insight, 15 Jan 2010
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This review is from: South from the Limpopo (Paperback)
I have seen the previous two reviews for this book and to an extent agree with both of them. I've read several of Dervla Murphy's books, and while they have all been an enjoyable read, I have enjoyed this one by far the most. This is partly to do with the style of her writing - it is much tighter in 'South from the Limpopo', and partly to do with the context - there is a lot more going on in this book. She doesn't describe herself as a politician, she is a travelling writer and I found her insights interesting and amusing, which is what I have come to expect from her books. One doesn't have to be a politician to have insight(there are plenty of politicians without it), and all opinions are subjective to a degree, but no less valid for it. It is a thick book which benefits from the addition of photographs, and as usual there is a map so that the reader can follow her route. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in other countries/ other people and their societies and to anyone interested in travelling. Dervla Murphy travels Africa alone by bicycle, which is no small feat.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A flawed insight, 31 May 1999
By A Customer
South Africa is a wonderful country and I had the great fortune to live and work there for two years. During this time I travelled thousands of miles, saw much of the country, and met a great many people from all backgrounds. It is a complex country full of contradictions that can assault one's sensibilities. There can be few other countries in the world where the destiny of its citizens is so intricately linked to its immediate history.
The author of this book recognises that the only way to understand a country is to see it for oneself. Bravely she set out to find the answers to some of the questions that South Africa poses by travelling around it on a bicycle. To some extent she succeeds, her reportage surrounding the assassination of Chris Hani has some merit, but overall I was left with a sense of great unease. She establishes her credentials as an admirer of the ANC early on and is named Comrade Noxolo (which means peace in Khosa) by her 'minders'; a gesture which she describes as marking her 'acceptance as a reliable friend, a person with the right attitude'. At no time, however, does she question the role of her minders as her journey continues and how she may have been manipulated in crucial sections of this book.
Her views about the redistribution of clothes from a hijacked laundry van are disappointing (failing 'to see it as either criminal or immoral') and her Robin Hood like attitude to this incident is not extended to the theft of her own property later in the book in the form of her beloved bicycle. Her trip to prison to visit those on remand awaiting trial for the possession of automatic weapons is disturbing. The closest she comes to condemning the possession of these unlawful weapons is to inform us that she has another view that is 'beside the present point' from agreeing with her minders that they should be retained for future possible use.
Later in the book her attitude begins to change. She becomes more cynical about her associates' intentions, but by then her personal opinions have long ago clouded the objectivity of her observations. Maybe a travelogue is allowed to be subjective but I can't help thinking that if it is then it should avoid dubious political observations and concentrate on describing the journey itself. It is this which seriously detracts from the overall value of the book. 'South From The Limpopo' goes some way to describing this most interesting of countries but fails to find the real South Africa.
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4.0 out of 5 stars PRESENT, 12 Sep 2013
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I BOUGHT THIS AS A PRESENT FOR MY MOTHER WHO LOVES TO READ ABOUT PLACES SHE HAS NEVER BEEN TO
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5.0 out of 5 stars WONDERFUL, 25 Oct 2014
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This review is from: South from the Limpopo (Paperback)
MS MURPHY IS THE BEST THERE IS.
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South from the Limpopo
South from the Limpopo by Dervla Murphy (Paperback - Mar 2001)
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