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  • Nov 29, 2014
  • Updated: 9:37am

South Africa - The First Man, The Last Nation

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 30 April, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 30 April, 2006, 12:00am

South Africa - The First Man, The Last Nation


by R.W. Johnson


Phoenix, $120


In any international vote, to host the World Cup or the Olympics, or to be secretary-general of the 189-member UN, wooing Africa means 50 votes from the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). Academic-turned-journalist R.W. Johnson has raised hackles in his native South Africa by pointing out that the black African elite now runs the show in Pretoria, and in the OAU. South Africa - The First Man, The Last Nation is, as The Economist says, 'a lucid and excellent history spanning 3.5 billion years of South African history'. But it's the last chapter - from Nelson Mandela's release in 1990 - that makes this book a standout. Johnson takes the reader to the new South Africa of an authoritarian African National Congress bent on entrenching wealthy black elites that pursue 'self interest rather than that of the country as a whole'. President Thabo Mbeki's 'disturbingly paranoid style' sees Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe as the victim of an 'imperialist assault on the liberation movements of southern Africa'. Johnson's conclusion: another pathetic basket case in the making.


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