In-depth view of separate development (apartheid), June 2, 2009
By QBA (Toronto, Canada)
This review is from: Apartheid South Africa: An Insider's Overview of the Origin and Effects of Separate Development (Hardcover)
This is an in-depth view of separate development (apartheid), that you won't usually get out of the main stream media. The author takes us on a tour of South Africa from his arrival as a child and his interaction with the Afrikaans culture all throughout adult hood. His firsthand experience gives us a better understanding of the social and political dynamics of the time.
The book starts with a much needed chronological list of the racial discrimination laws that most people are oblivious to, were actually initiated, implemented and reinforced by the British government in South Africa from 1892 until 1946 and continued by the Afrikaans National Party government in 1949 under the name of separate development mostly known by its Afrikaans translation as apartheid.
The author tries to give us a somewhat balanced description of the suffering of the black population both by their subjugation from the National Party government under apartheid and also by the lesser publicized barbaric and cruel acts committed by blacks on their fellow blacks. The latter actions were so savage and brutal that they can only be labeled as acts of terrorism, such as amputations of limbs, torture and the infamous necklacing where a gasoline soaked tire was slung around the victims neck and set alight by members and sympathizers of the Marxist ANC (African National Congress); they also planted bombs targeting innocent civilians. Their leader was none other than Nelson Mandela.
Further reading is needed to have an overall picture without falling victim to some of the author's naive dismissals of the seriousness of the communist threat that was hovering over South Africa during the cold war era and his understandable but sometimes unfounded prejudice with anything that belonged to the old regime.
Apartheid was an unsustainable and unjust practice; there is much misinformation and many misconceptions in the west about the reality of South Africa during that era and I recommend this book because it is well researched and provided a unique firsthand knowledge account, making it an important addition to any serious reader about Southern Africa.
Author's note: This review has been edited. For the complete text, go to Amazon book link.