After Mandela: The Battle for the Soul of South Africa Paperback – 6 May 2010
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"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)
'Gripping, lively and immensely readable' Daily Telegraph --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
A summary of each chapter is as follows:
1. This chapter considers the rise of Mandela, and how difficult anyone would have taking over from him due to the reputation that the international community had conveyed on him. He was after all a man, with a man's problems, not a saint. It was inevitable that Mbeki would have a complex upon taking office, given that he was succeeding a great man but Mbeki was nevertheless a highly intelligent man.
2. This chapter really highlighted to me that there really are still whites who acutely act racist towards some blacks. However, it also highlights that there are an even higher number of whites who are actually trying to help their fell blacks have better lives. This chapter looks at how some communities have transformed since the end of apartheid. Most noticeably Soweto is considered and some farm districts are discussed.
3. This chapter considers the rise of the ANC and how noble their aims were at the beginning. However, like all liberation movements they quickly turn sour and have to go through periods of great transformation in order to reform themselves before they turn bad. This chapter assesses how the ANC itself is in some ways turning bad, most noticeably in terms of the "racist" rhetoric used to answer their problems. It also highlights the get rich mentality of some of the party members.
4. This chapter considers how the burden of delivering results in a post apartheid South Africa is fraught with problems.Read more ›
Until the ANC becomes a true democratic party, or until a worthy and strong opposition comes about to challenge the ANC, I see no hope for prosperity for normal law abiding citizens.
Brilliantly written book, I couldn't put it down.
Alec Russell is clearly a very intelligent and highly-regarded journalist, and so has been able to obtain interviews with just about every politician of significance in SA over the past 17 years. He offers interesting and revealing quotes from several leaders and would-be leaders in the ANC. He also provides a lot of excellent anecdotal stories and interviews with everyday people.
To live in South Africa is to experience very high highs and very low lows with regard to how you feel about the state of the country, its politics and its people. This book captures a lot of that. Reading it, I often found myself weeping, usually with joy, but often with despair. That is exactly what South Africa is like (And why I absolutely love the place - MOST of the time! [For what it's worth, I have to live Australia because my Australian wife has read too many articles on SA by less-competent journos than Russell]).
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a good book as a summary of S Africa. Not too much details and well observed. Easy to read and informative.Published 18 months ago by Sandhamsman
I would rather not leave a comment at this stage. There is definitely more to follow, and sadly, it's not getting better!Published on 3 Aug. 2013 by Skiboo
An excellent book, highlights areas within the South African context that I was totally unaware of. Highlights that the struggle still goes on.Published on 18 July 2013 by Colette
I picked a copy of this up after it being recommended as a Sunday Times book of the year. Am also off to South Africa for the World cup and book has been recommended as accessible... Read morePublished on 21 Dec. 2009 by D. Syed