Magazine article New Internationalist

Twentieth-Century South Africa // Review

Magazine article New Internationalist

Twentieth-Century South Africa // Review

Article excerpt

WHILE APARTHEID RULED SOUTH AFRICA it was simple to imagine that we knew roughly what was going on, where we stood and what should be done about it.

Now that apartheid has collapsed it's no longer so obvious. We now have to see the place afresh with eyes less dulled by the awful gloom of apartheid, yet without pretending that it was never there. Rediscovering history is one of the ways we can do this, and William Beinart's meticulous, lively introduction to the story of the South African people through the twentieth century is an excellent place to start.

You quickly discover that there were powerful -- and enduring -- forces behind the exploitation of black South Africans, orchestrated to deliver great wealth into certain hands. You can see quite clearly, too, the difficulty the architects of apartheid had trying to keep the cities 'white' against a tide of urbanization, or to sustain cheap labour on white - owned farms against relentless demand for expendable human muscle in the mines. In both cases the result was, eventually, an almighty mess.

It would be wrong to conclude from this, however, that the demise of apartheid was engineered entirely by the hidden hand of market forces. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.