After Mandela


What a pleasant surprise to encounter a book that actually looks beyond the surface of South Africa’s by now well-known story. We’ve read so many accounts of the miraculous transformation of the hideous apartheid state into the rainbow democracy and, in the nearly two decades since that happened, of the flies in the ointment that have marred the fairy tale. In his many visits to South Africa over the last eight years and the year he spent living there, California journalist Douglas Foster, former editor of Mother Jones, has gained a superb understanding of the complexities of South African society. Though never underestimating the burden laid upon present-day South Africa not just by 45 years of apartheid but by centuries of segregation, he has wisely chosen to concentrate on the chaotic present and immediate past as well as trying to see what a very uncertain future might hold.

more from Martin Rubin at the LA Times here.