What’s Gone Wrong? South Africa on the Brink of Failed Statehood

Alex Boraine. New York Univ, $25 (192p) ISBN 978-1-4798-9368-3
Boraine, a former anti-apartheid member of South Africa’s Parliament and an architect of its Truth and Reconciliation Commission, blames the country’s struggles in the two decades after apartheid on the ruling African National Congress (ANC), which has had a “large majority” in every government since 1994. Boraine argues that the party has “contempt for opposition” and is marred by a culture of corruption. Believing that ANC reform is elusive and that president Jacob Zuma must go, Boraine briefly profiles a number of emerging opposition figures who might one day take power. He is thorough in his indictment and believes his country, with widespread poverty and other problems, is a “failing” but not a “failed” state. Unfortunately, his book is dry in tone, and would have benefitted from more anecdotal material. Boraine also assumes a significant amount of knowledge of South African politics, for example, referring to former president Thabo Mbeki’s removal from power without providing enough contextual details for general readers. Despite these flaws, Boraine’s brief against the country’s rulers will command attention from readers interested in South African politics. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/21/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
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