Magazine article American Libraries

South Africa

Magazine article American Libraries

South Africa

Article excerpt


VIOLENCE IN SOUTH AFRICA HAS become a ubiquitous newspaper headline. Although most Americans are familiar with the South African government's oppresive apartheid policy, few of us possess much background concerning the country's's history or culture, not to mention the nuances of its political situation. The books listed below should help to fill that gap. They include not only political analysis, but also biography and autobiography, fiction, and poetry. Users of this list should realize that it is limited to books published in the last year, which eliminates the work of some of South Africa's most significant literary figures, e.g., novelists Nadine Gordimer and J.M. Coetzee and playwright Athol Fugard. Certainly anyone interested in understanding contemporary South Africa will want to read such books as Gordimer's July People (Viking, 1981), Coetzee's Waiting for the Barbarians (Penguin, 1982), and Fugard's "Master Harold". . . and the Boys (Knopf, 1982).

Benson, Mary. Nelson Mandela. Norton, 1986, $16.95. (0-393-30322-5)

Although Nelson Mandela has spent the last 23 years in jail, he remains, along with his wife, Winnie, the most revered of South African leaders. This thorough political biography does a good job of explicating Mandela's philosophy (non-Communist and nonracist) and describing his involvement with the outlawed African National Congress.

Crapanzano, Vincent. Waiting: The Whites of South Africa. Random, 1985, $19.95. (0-394-50986-2, 83-42752)

Focusing on the English and Afrikaans resistance in a single South African village, an American anthropologist provides an in-depth look at the troubled country's dominant class. His interviews reveal a complex web of racism, guilt, conflict, and anxiety.

Harrison, Nancy. Winnie Mandela. Braziller, 1986, $14.95. (0-80764109-3) This authorized biography of the internationally known symbol of black suffering and militant protest traces Mandela's early life as a medical-social worker and then concentrates on her role (and that of husband Nelson) in the struggle to end apartheid. Openly adulatory of her subject, Harrison nevertheless tells a moving story of a courageous woman.

Lelyveld, Joseph. Move Your Shadow:

South Africa, Black and White. …

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