Along the Road to Soweto: A Racial History of South Africa

K. C. Tessendorf, Author Atheneum Books $14.95 (194p) ISBN 978-0-689-31401-8
What were the many causes of the 1976 Soweto demonstrations? This analysis of a downtrodden segregated township and the people killed there and elsewhere in South Africa during that period emblematizes the nation's multilayered problems. As in his earlier work on dictatorship and terrorism, Kill the Tsar , Tessendorf has a flair for incisive terms, calling South Africa an ``unmelting pot'' and a ``theater for imperialist action.'' Tessendorf's book is more concerned with its subtitle; readers must wait until nearly the end for coverage of apartheid and the protests. The racial history here reaches far back, to prehistory and so-called biblical injunctions sanctioning slavery, through the tribal periods (Bushmen, Bantu, Hottentot), then on to settlers and conquerors such as the Boer and the British. The characters in this long drama (e.g., Shaka, Gandhi and Mandela), come alive for their brief time onstage, but the chronology is exceedingly complex. Ultimately, Tessendorf doesn't step back to connect the present fully to the past, but leaves the task to readers. Ages 11-up. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
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