Fighting for the Dream
|Fighting for the Dream
RW Johnson’s bestselling book How Long Will South Africa Survive? was described by Alec Hogg as ‘a masterpiece in unblemished reality’. Published at the height of the Zuma presidency it offered a chilling warning: the ANC appeared determined to drive South Africa into the abyss.
Since then, Cyril Ramaphosa has taken over as president and there have been some attempts to clean up government. But the brief period of ‘Ramaphoria’ is over and the threat to both the economy and the dream of a non-racial democracy is as real as ever.
As national elections loom, Johnson examines the state of the nation with pinpoint accuracy. On the one hand state-owned institutions are near collapse, municipalities are defunct and civil strife is rampant. On the other, Ramaphosa and his team have come up with a plan to curb corruption and create growth and prosperity. But will it work? Johnson, in trademark style, picks it apart and, while doing so, offers some ideas of what he thinks is required to get us out of this morass.
Praise for How Long Will South Africa Survive?
Well-written and well argued, his book is at its best describing the eye-watering corruption, nepotism and gang-violence that seem to link powerful officials in Zuma's home province of KwaZulu-Natal to the wider ANC. ... That South Africa's black leaders appear to have fulfilled the worst predictions of their white supremacist predecessors makes uncomfortable reading. What surprises Johnson is how quickly they managed to do it. The Times
A provocative polemic ... produces a devastating charge sheet against the ANC. The Sunday Times
In 1977, Johnson was taking stock of where the apartheid state stood in relation to its likely end, and his prediction was more-or-less correct: 15 years later, it was officially dead, and South Africa had a new, democratically elected government. In the new nostradamic book, Johnson seems to be talking about a similar time frame, perhaps shortened to a decade or so, but in interviews he has given a much shorter period until we hit the wall, saying South Africa has a mere two years before it has to go begging to the International Monetary Fund for a bail-out. ... Johnson has a great polemical gift ... punchy. Mail & Guardian
Johnson's newest book speaks to the corruption that now riddles the country's body politic. As a result, it is increasingly up to the country's politicians, economic and business leaders and others to explain how they, if they were in charge, would arrest the decay and reverse the process. The country clearly wants to hear such things and is increasingly hungry for solid answers. Daily Maverick
This book will undoubtedly be met with outrage among South Africa's political and intellectual elite. If so, it will not be because of any great deficiencies in the text, but because of the grip of ideology on the country's elite. By the same token, it will be hailed by some people in opposition circles simply because of the vigour with which it criticises not only South Africa's current government, but the entire history of the ANC since the late 1950s, as well as for its devastating critique of African nationalism more generally. Professor Stephen Ellis, Free University of Amsterdam, author of External Mission: The ANC in Exile, 1960-90