100 books like How Long Will South Africa Survive?

By R.W. Johnson,

Here are 100 books that How Long Will South Africa Survive? fans have personally recommended if you like How Long Will South Africa Survive?. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood

Reginald (Reggie) L. Reed Jr. Author Of The Day My Mother Never Came Home

From my list on promoting the power of human healing.

Why am I passionate about this?

I experienced severe trauma at an early age in life, which involved numerous challenges that tested my resilience and inner strength. However, through perseverance, self-reflection, and seeking support, I was able to overcome these obstacles and emerge stronger than ever. My experiences have taught me the importance of resilience, the power of healing, and the transformative impact of sharing stories, including the messy ones. I believe that by recommending books that explore these themes, I can inspire and empower others who may be facing similar challenges to find hope, resilience, and a path toward healing.

Reginald's book list on promoting the power of human healing

Reginald (Reggie) L. Reed Jr. Why did Reginald love this book?

I highly recommend this book as it offers a unique and insightful perspective on the complexities of growing up in a world marked by crime and adversity. Noah’s candid storytelling and introspection resonate deeply with themes explored in my book, such as resilience, perseverance, and the capacity humans have for survival.

Through Noah’s journey, readers gain an understanding of the impact of injustices and personal experiences on shaping one's worldview and navigating life's challenges.

By Trevor Noah,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Born a Crime as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE THURBER PRIZE

The compelling, inspiring, (often comic) coming-of-age story of Trevor Noah, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.

One of the comedy world's brightest new voices, Trevor Noah is a light-footed but sharp-minded observer of the absurdities of politics, race and identity, sharing jokes and insights drawn from the wealth of experience acquired in his relatively young life. As host of the US hit show The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, he provides viewers around the globe with their nightly dose of biting satire, but here Noah turns his…


Book cover of The Night Trains: Moving Mozambican Miners to and from the Witwatersrand Mines, 1902-1955

Gail Nattrass Author Of A Short History of South Africa

From my list on modern South Africa.

Why am I passionate about this?

Gail Nattrass was born in Northern Rhodesia. She was educated at Mufulira High School and the universities of Natal, Rhodesia, Nyasaland, and UNISA. She relocated to South Africa with her husband in 1967, and subsequently lectured in the history department at the School of Education, University of the Witwatersrand for 20 years. She has written materials for students and presented papers on various aspects of South African and international history at four universities in South Africa. She is also the author of The Rooiberg Story, the co-editor with S B Spies of Jan Smuts: Memoirs of the Boer War, and a contributor to They Shaped Our Century and Leaders of the Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902.

Gail's book list on modern South Africa

Gail Nattrass Why did Gail love this book?

This book by South Africa’s most eminent historian, Charles van Onselen, tells the story of the night trains which brought poverty-stricken Mozambican men from Rossania Garcia on the Mozambique border to work as migrant labourers on the gold mines in Johannesburg between 1902 and 1955.

The men travelled in appalling conditions and were preyed on by petty criminals, con men, and corrupt officials. The night trains were a transport system run in partnership between the mining houses and the railways and designed to maximise profit at the expense of the health, well-being, and even the lives of the men it conveyed. 

At the end of their time in the mines, the trains sent the men back to Mozambique, often ill and broken and even insane after their experiences in the mines and in the trains. The story reflects South Africa’s evolving system of segregation and apartheid and the brutal logic…

By Charles Van Onselen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Night Trains as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This seminal book reveals how black labour was exploited in twentieth-century South Africa, the human costs of which are still largely hidden from history. It was the people of southern Mozambique, bent double beneath the historical loads of forced labour and slavery, then sold off en masse as contracted labourers, who paid the highest price for South African gold. An iniquitous intercolonial agreement for the exploitation of ultra-cheap black labour was only made possible through nightly use of the steam locomotive on the transnational railway linking Johannesburg and Lourenco Marques. These night trains left deep scars in the urban and…


Book cover of A Military History of Modern South Africa

Gail Nattrass Author Of A Short History of South Africa

From my list on modern South Africa.

Why am I passionate about this?

Gail Nattrass was born in Northern Rhodesia. She was educated at Mufulira High School and the universities of Natal, Rhodesia, Nyasaland, and UNISA. She relocated to South Africa with her husband in 1967, and subsequently lectured in the history department at the School of Education, University of the Witwatersrand for 20 years. She has written materials for students and presented papers on various aspects of South African and international history at four universities in South Africa. She is also the author of The Rooiberg Story, the co-editor with S B Spies of Jan Smuts: Memoirs of the Boer War, and a contributor to They Shaped Our Century and Leaders of the Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902.

Gail's book list on modern South Africa

Gail Nattrass Why did Gail love this book?

The first of its kind, this book provides an overview of South African military history from 1899 (1900) to 2000. It focuses on campaigns and battles, evolving military policy, and the development of the South African military.

The century started with a brief, but total war, the Anglo-Boer War (more appropriately now called The South African War) 1899-1902, then only 10 years later, it moved to the unlikely establishment of a  Union of South Africa, consisting of the two former Boer republics, the Transvaal and the Orange Free State and the two English colonies, Natal and the Cape Province.

As the century wore on, the military was involved in different ways with the rise of Afrikaner (basically Boer) nationalism, industrial disputes, and uprisings by disenfranchised black South Africans. The century ended as it started with another war, but this was a limited war, a flashpoint of the Cold War, which…

By Ian van der Waag,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Military History of Modern South Africa as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Twentieth-century South Africa saw continuous, often rapid and fundamental socio-economic and political change. The century started with a brief but total war. Less than ten years later Britain brought the conquered Boer republics and the Cape and Natal colonies together into the Union of South Africa.

The Union Defence Force (UDF, later SADF), was deployed during most of the major wars of the century as well as a number of internal and regional struggles: the two world wars, Korea, uprising and rebellion on the part of Afrikaner and black nationalists, and industrial unrest. The century ended as it started, with…


Book cover of Jan Smuts - Unafraid of Greatness

Gail Nattrass Author Of A Short History of South Africa

From my list on modern South Africa.

Why am I passionate about this?

Gail Nattrass was born in Northern Rhodesia. She was educated at Mufulira High School and the universities of Natal, Rhodesia, Nyasaland, and UNISA. She relocated to South Africa with her husband in 1967, and subsequently lectured in the history department at the School of Education, University of the Witwatersrand for 20 years. She has written materials for students and presented papers on various aspects of South African and international history at four universities in South Africa. She is also the author of The Rooiberg Story, the co-editor with S B Spies of Jan Smuts: Memoirs of the Boer War, and a contributor to They Shaped Our Century and Leaders of the Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902.

Gail's book list on modern South Africa

Gail Nattrass Why did Gail love this book?

This book by former lawyer and journalist, Richard Steyn, is a study of one of South Africa’s most celebrated, brilliant yet enigmatic figures, Jan Smuts.

Soldier, statesman, philosopher, and politician, Smuts was all of these things and a man unafraid of greatness. Prime Minister of South Africa from 1919 - 1924 and again from 1939 - 1948, a distinguished veteran of three wars, an international figure, whose opinions were sought after in the councils of the world, and the personal friend and confidante of world leaders like Winston Churchill and King George VI, Richard Steyn gives an extremely readable account of how Smuts achieved greatness in so many areas. He helped establish the United Nations and drew the attention of the world to South Africa, yet failed to address the growing need to create equitable political, economic, and social relations between black and white peoples in South Africa.

Steyn does…

By Richard Steyn,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Jan Smuts - Unafraid of Greatness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jan Christian Smuts was soldier, statesman and intellectual, one of South Africa's greatest leaders. Yet little is said about him today even as we appear to live in a leadership vacuum. Unafraid of Greatness is a re-examination of the life and thought of Jan Smuts. It is intended to remind a contemporary readership of the remarkable achievements of this impressive soldier-statesman. The author argues that there is a need to bring Smuts back into the present, that Smuts' legacy still has much to instruct. He draws several parallels between Smuts and President Thabo Mbeki, both intellectuals much lionised abroad and…


Book cover of Helen Suzman: Bright Star in a Dark Chamber

Norman Baker Author Of ...And What Do You Do?: What the Royal Family Don't Want You to Know

From my list on how the world works.

Why am I passionate about this?

We all need to understand more about how the world ticks, who is in control, and why they act as they do. And we need to salute those of courage who refuse to go along with the flow in a craven or unthinking way. I was an MP for 18 years and a government minister at the Department for Transport with a portfolio that included rail, bus, active travel, and then at the Home Office as Crime Prevention minister. After leaving Parliament, I became managing director of The Big Lemon, an environmentally friendly bus and coach company in Brighton. I now act as an advisor to the Campaign for Better Transport, am a regular columnist and broadcaster, and undertake consultancy and lecturing work.

Norman's book list on how the world works

Norman Baker Why did Norman love this book?

This is a heart-warming true story of the courage of one woman you have probably never heard of but you need to. A woman of great courage and integrity who took on the South African apartheid regime and for a while as a liberal was the only opposition member (and I think the only woman) in the racist all-white parliament. Some are naturally courageous, some have courage thrust upon them. Nelson Mandela and the ANC took on the racist regime from outside, Helen Suzman almost single-handedly took it on from within parliament. A real hero.

By Robin Renwick,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Helen Suzman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'The task of all who believe in multiracialism in this country is to survive. Quite inevitably time is on our side...' Helen Suzman was the voice of South Africa's conscience during the darkest days of apartheid. She stood alone in parliament, confronted by a legion of highly chauvinist male politicians. Armed with the relentless determination and biting wit for which she became renowned, Suzman battled the racist regime and earned her reputation as a legendary anti-apartheid campaigner. Despite constant antagonism and the threat of violence, she forced into the global spotlight the injustices of the country's minority rule. Access to…


Book cover of Move Your Shadow: South Africa, Black and White

Kenneth P. Vickery Author Of The African Experience: From "Lucy" to Mandela

From my list on Southern Africa as picked by a historian.

Why am I passionate about this?

For fifty years I have studied and taught the history of Africa, which  makes me about the luckiest guy around.  My focus has been on Southern Africa, and especially Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa.  Aside from the fantastic physical beauty, the region attracts because of the comparability of its history and experience with that of the United States at many points:  for instance, a colonial past, systems of slavery, and fraught [to say the least] racial dynamics.  I have enjoyed 23 journeys or lengthier sojourns in Southern Africa, and have taught at five universities, including North Carolina State, Duke, and the University of Zimbabwe as a Fulbright Lecturer.

Kenneth's book list on Southern Africa as picked by a historian

Kenneth P. Vickery Why did Kenneth love this book?

Move Your Shadow is a masterpiece of reportage. Lelyveld, a former executive editor of the New York Times, spent considerable periods in apartheid South Africa in both the 1960s and the 1980s. The sixties was the period of “baaskap”—“bosshood” apartheid, when the perverse racist cruelties of the system were imposed with a sledgehammer. I would call the eighties the era of “facelift” apartheid—why, the word was hardly used by the regime anymore. 

To paraphrase Gramsci, the old world was dying, a new one struggled to be born. Monsters abounded. Nobody captured the period better than Lelyveld. The chapter on Philip Kgosana, the idealist who led Cape Town demonstrations in 1960—at age 19—was betrayed by the state, and wound up in exile in Sri Lanka—is worth the price of the book.

By Joseph Lelyveld,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Move Your Shadow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Drawing on his tours in South Africa as a correspondent for the "New York Times," the author details the absurdities, rationalizations, inequities, and cruelties of apartheid, showing what it means to suffer and survive under the restrictions of racial separation


Book cover of Life & Times of Michael K

Justin Fox Author Of The Cape Raider

From my list on South Africa’s landscape and beauty.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a South African travel writer and novelist with a particular passion for the sublime landscape, wildlife, oceans, and wilderness of our corner of Africa. Growing up in Cape Town, I have spent the last 25 years travelling around the subcontinent writing and photographing for travel and wildlife magazines, and writing books about the landscape and its people. My two latest novels are set in the Cape, and although they are World War II adventure stories, they are also celebrations of our unique coastline, maritime culture, and the oceans that wash our shores. All my writing, whether fiction or non-fiction, ends up being a love letter to the landscape.

Justin's book list on South Africa’s landscape and beauty

Justin Fox Why did Justin love this book?

The Life and Times of Michael K is a beautifully written allegory about the troubled apartheid era in South Africa. The author, Nobel Laureate JM Coetzee, was one of my lecturers at the University of Cape Town and this is my favorite book of his. It provides superb descriptions of the arid South African landscape and how a solitary figure ekes out an existence: alone, off-grid, reclusive… waiting for the tide of history to turn. The novel is set in the heart of the Karoo, a semi-desert region that I love to visit to get away from the city and its strife.

By J. M. Coetzee,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Life & Times of Michael K as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From author of Waiting for the Barbarians and Nobel Prize winner J.M. Coetzee.

J.M. Coetzee's latest novel, The Schooldays of Jesus, is now available from Viking. Late Essays: 2006-2016 will be available January 2018.

In a South Africa turned by war, Michael K. sets out to take his ailing mother back to her rural home. On the way there she dies, leaving him alone in an anarchic world of brutal roving armies. Imprisoned, Michael is unable to bear confinement and escapes, determined to live with dignity. This life affirming novel goes to the center of human experience-the need for an…


Book cover of Rivonia's Children: Three Families and the Cost of Conscience in White South Africa

John Tilston Author Of Meanjin to Brisvegas: Snapshots of Brisbane's Journey from Colonial Backwater to New World City

From my list on British history beyond cliche, ideology, and spin.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a former journalist. I’m nosey. I like to know what’s going on around me. I like to know how the place I live in has evolved. I was born in the UK, but was taken to southern Africa as a child, so grew up with English parents in a colony of the former British empire. I moved to another former colony - Australia. I worked and lived in London for several years. In all of these places I have been fascinated by the history that shaped them. The books I have recommended and the research I did on my own have all helped me understand my place in the universe.

John's book list on British history beyond cliche, ideology, and spin

John Tilston Why did John love this book?

This Pulitzer prize-winning book tells the tale of three white men who worked with Nelson Mandela and his cohorts striving to end the brutal rule of Apartheid.

They were arrested, tried, and convicted of ‘terrorism’, alongside Mandela. This granular narrative is the story of their capture and trial, the impact on them and their families, the hostility of the state and white South Africans towards these ‘radicals,’ who in any Western society would be considered human rights activists.

It has resonance for me because I grew up in Southern Africa; I was opposed to the rigid racial policies but didn’t do much more than grumble about it. So I admire these intrepid men and women.

By Glenn Frankel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rivonia's Children as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Frankel, a staff writer and editor for The Washington Post , tells the story of a handful of white activists, many of them Jewish, who risked their lives to combat apartheid in South Africa during the 1960s. Their underground headquarters was in Rivonia, a Johannesburg suburb, and it was there that their dream of revolution was shattered after a police raid in 1963. Nelson Mandela and nine others were tried for sabotage, leading to the birth of another generation of activists and the miracle of racial reconciliation. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)


Book cover of Jump and Other Stories

Samrat Upadhyay Author Of Mad Country

From my list on fiction that make political feel intensely persona.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Nepal, where politics was part and parcel of everyday life. During my childhood and teenage years, we lived under a monarchy, where the king was supreme. Yet there was always a simmering tension between what was a mildly authoritarian rule and what the people’s aspirations were. As I grew into adulthood, Nepal saw a massive uprising that ushered in a multiparty system, then later, after a bloody Maoist civil war, the overthrow of the crown. Yet, even amidst all these political upheavals, people do live quotidian lives, and the space between these two seemingly disparate things has always felt like a literary goldmine to me. 

Samrat's book list on fiction that make political feel intensely persona

Samrat Upadhyay Why did Samrat love this book?

While I was a graduate student of writing, I devoured every novel and story by Nadine Gordimer, whose body of work is astounding in how it combines artistic sensibility with a moral vision. Most important, Gordimer, with her unflinching and unrelenting gaze at the horror of apartheid in South Africa, taught me the value of passion in writing. Gordimer is known mostly for her novels, but her short stories are equally sharp and biting in their critique, and she uses the form’s precision to devastating effect. What is striking in Jump and Other Stories is the diversity of her characters and situations, thereby illuminating every corner of the racial injustices in her country.  

By Nadine Gordimer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Jump and Other Stories as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fifteen thematically and geographically wide-ranging stories from the Nobel Prize Winner, with settings ranging from suburban London to Mozambique.


Book cover of Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela

Paul Wood Author Of How to Escape from Prison

From my list on escaping prison and helping you change your life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was imprisoned for murder as an 18-year-old. I was a high school dropout who was addicted to drugs and didn’t have any hope for the future. Each of the books recommended contributed to my own journey of transformation. I read them all while I was in prison. Some of them while I was in maximum security or solitary confinement. Each recommendation helped me escape that life and its horrors. 

Paul's book list on escaping prison and helping you change your life

Paul Wood Why did Paul love this book?

Nelson Mandel’s autobiography from his early life through the 27 years he spent in prison before becoming South Africa's first democratically elected President.

This book taught me about trying to be a better person despite your circumstances and being wronged by others. It also gave me hope that my imprisonment could be just a chapter in my journey and didn’t need to be the defining experience of my life.

By Nelson Mandela,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Long Walk to Freedom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

2018 is the centenary of Nelson Mandela's birth

'The authentic voice of Mandela shines through this book . . . humane, dignified and magnificently unembittered' The Times

The riveting memoirs of the outstanding moral and political leader of our time, A Long Walk to Freedom brilliantly re-creates the drama of the experiences that helped shape Nelson Mandela's destiny. Emotive, compelling and uplifting, A Long Walk to Freedom is the exhilarating story of an epic life; a story of hardship, resilience and ultimate triumph told with the clarity and eloquence of a born leader.

'Burns with the luminosity of faith in…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in South Africa, politics, and apartheid?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about South Africa, politics, and apartheid.

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Politics Explore 710 books about politics
Apartheid Explore 42 books about apartheid