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After Mandela

The Struggle for Freedom in Post-Apartheid South Africa

Douglas Foster (Author, Northwestern University)

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Overview | Inside the Book

The most important historical and journalistic portrait to date of a nation whose destiny will determine the fate of a continent.

A brutally honest exposé, After Mandela provides a sobering portrait of a country caught between a democratic future and a political meltdown. Recent works have focused primarily on Nelson Mandela’s transcendent story. But Douglas Foster, a leading South Africa authority with early, unprecedented access to President Zuma and to the next generation in the Mandela family, traces the nation’s entire post-apartheid arc, from its celebrated beginnings under “Madiba” to Thabo Mbeki’s tumultuous rule to the ferocious battle between Mbeki and Jacob Zuma. Foster tells this story not only from the point of view of the emerging black elite but also, drawing on hundreds of rare interviews over a six-year period, from the perspectives of ordinary citizens, including an HIV-infected teenager living outside Johannesburg and a homeless orphan in Cape Town. This is the long-awaited, revisionist account of a country whose recent history has been not just neglected but largely ignored by the West.

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • September 2012
  • ISBN 978-0-87140-478-7
  • 6.6 × 9.6 in / 608 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

“Fantastic at cultivating contacts… [Foster] draws insightful observations from the hundreds of people he interviewed and those he encountered in passing. He proved to be especially good at connecting with young people and drawing on their astute observations about the country they have inherited.” — Kirkus Reviews

“What a pleasant surprise to encounter a book that actually looks beyond the surface of South Africa's by now well-known story… Douglas Foster, former editor of Mother Jones, has gained a superb understanding of the complexities of South African society… Foster gives us a portrait of a vibrant nation, full of contrasts and contradictions, of wealth and poverty, of diversity and sophistication alongside ingrained attitudes and resistance… He is also fearless in putting his questions to the president, but given the nature of Zuma's evasions and excuses, it is no wonder that, at its conclusion, the book looks beyond the democratically elected leaders to the demos, the people of South Africa, and its essential spirit.” — Martin Rubin, Los Angeles Times

“Mr. Foster is a dogged reporter, blessed with an uncanny ability to talk himself into places where journalists aren't normally welcome.” — Rian Malan, Wall Street Journal

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