An Ordinary Country: Issues in the Transition from Apartheid to Democracy in South Africa

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Alexander, a former leading political activist and commentator who spent time on Robben Island, goes beyond what he calls ‘the effervescence of parliamentary debate and grandstanding’ and explores a range of issues in post-apartheid South Africa including national identity and the rainbow nation, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the role and status of language, showing the volatility, the tentativeness, and the fluidity of the evolving situation. Neville Alexander teaches at the Faculty of Humanities, University of Cape Town.


Disputing the notion of a miracle; transition in South Africa, the author argues that the new South Africa had to happen as it did because of the socio-historical make-up of the country and the leading players involved. He identifies and explains some of the turning points at which critical choices were made by local and international forces.

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