Beyond the Miracle: Inside the New South Africa

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University of Chicago Press, Oct 15, 2003 - History - 370 pages
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In Beyond the Miracle, a distinguished South African journalist provides a wide-ranging and unflinching account of the first nine years of democratic government in South Africa. Covering both the new regime's proud achievements and its disappointing failures, Allister Sparks looks to South Africa's future, asking whether it can overcome its history and current global trends to create a truly nonracial, multicultural, and multiparty democracy.

Sparks sees South Africa as facing many of the same challenges as the rest of the world, especially a widening gap between rich and poor, exacerbated by the forces of globalization. While the transition government has done much to establish democracy and racial equality in a short time, as well as bring basic services such as clean water to millions who did not have them before, many blacks feel it has not done enough to redress the continuing imbalance of wealth in the country. Many whites, meanwhile, feel disempowered and confused about what role they have to play as a racial minority in a country they used to rule and regard as theirs by divine right. Sparks also covers other burning issues, such as the HIV/AIDS epidemic, high crime rates, the diamond wars, the Congo conflict, and the Zimbabwean land crisis.

Writing vividly and often quite movingly, Sparks draws on his decades of journalistic experience and his recent insider access to key figures in the liberation government to take stock of where South Africa has been, where it's going, and why the rest of the world should not turn away from this country where the First and Third Worlds meet. As Sparks persuasively argues, the success of Mandela's vision of a peaceful "rainbow nation" is crucial not just for the salvation of Africa, but also for the world.

“Sparks, a grandfather of South African journalism, has fired one of the first volleys in the 10-year assessment. . . . It is an even-handed work, almost encyclopedic in its breadth. Sparks traverses all the important political terrain.”—Mail & Guardian

“It is as good a guide to the new South Africa as any.”—Economist


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Mandela's inauguration as presiden of South Africa was a defining moment of the c20th. This book attempts to analyse what has happen in the country in the decade since South Africa went through it's ... Read full review


CHAPTER ONE The Covenant
CHAPTER TWO A ThreeinOne Revolution
CHAPTER THREE Out of the Bush
CHAPTER FOUR Portraits of Change
CHAPTER SEVEN Stroking the Tiger
CHAPTER EIGHT Of Crimes and Confessions
CHAPTER NINE The Great Uturn
CHAPTER ELEVEN A Bitter Inheritance
CHAPTER TWELVE Deaths and Births
CHAPTER THIRTEEN When Saints Go Marching Out
CHAPTER FOURTEEN An African Holocaust

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About the author (2003)

One of South Africa's most respected journalists, Allister Sparks, has been editor of the Sunday Express and the Rand Daily Mail, as well as South Africa correspondent for the Washington Post, The Observer, The Economist, and Holland's NRC Handelsblad. He is the author of The Mind of South Africa and Tomorrow Is Another Country: The Inside Story of South Africa's Road to Change, the latter published by the University of Chicago Press.

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