Magazine article New Internationalist

[South Africa: Limits to Change]

Magazine article New Internationalist

[South Africa: Limits to Change]

Article excerpt

South Africa stands as proof that conflict and despair are not inevitable paths for African countries. Its recent history shows that, with courage, even the bloodlest and most intractable of regimes can be worn down and the transition to democracy can be made. But, as Hein Marais points out in his South Africa: Limits to Change, even with Nelson Mandela, it takes more than an election to transform the structural and economic realities of a society. It is Marais' contention that the democratic breakthrough in South Africa was much less radical than people believed and that the ANC Government's concentration on political and financial stability has meant that the needs and aspirations of the majority population have been largely unfulfilled. Marais' book is not an easy read, crammed as it is with acronyms, academic jargon and some mind-numbing Marxist gibberish, but one cannot dismiss it, as some commentators tried to dismiss John Pilger's recent documentary which made similar points, as political posturing. …

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