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Who’ll take Pretoria?

Rian Malan, 26 July 1990

The Mind of South Africa 
by Allister Sparks.
Heinemann, 424 pp., £16.95, May 1990, 0 434 75266 5
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... Allister Sparks is one of South Africa’s best-known journalists, a former editor of the liberal Rand Daily Mail and Johannesburg correspondent of the Observer and Washington Post. As a young man, he spent a year in the United States, where he read The Mind of the South, W.J. Cash’s classic study of the Dixie state of mind. The book made a profound impression ...

Into Africa

J.D.F. Jones, 19 April 1990

My Traitor’s Heart 
by Rian Malan.
Bodley Head, 349 pp., £14.95, April 1990, 0 370 31354 2
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... Rian Malan’s Afrikaner roots stretch back almost as far as you can go, to a Huguenot arriving in Cape Town in 1688. The Malans have been at the heart of things ever since: at Slagtersnek in 1815, at Blood River in 1838, on Majuba in 1881; bittereinders in 1902, at the head of the first National Party Government in 1948, in Cabinet today ...

Tables and Chairs

Christopher Tayler: J.M. Coetzee, 21 March 2013

J.M. Coetzee: A Life in Writing 
by J.C. Kannemeyer, translated by Michiel Heyns.
Jonathan Ball, 710 pp., R 325, October 2012, 978 1 86842 495 5
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Here and Now: Letters 2008-11 
by Paul Auster and J.M. Coetzee.
Viking, 256 pp., $27.95, March 2013, 978 0 670 02666 1
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The Childhood of Jesus 
by J.M. Coetzee.
Harvill Secker, 210 pp., £16.99, March 2013, 978 1 84655 769 9
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... who has worked with him for more than a decade claims to have seen him laugh just once,’ Rian Malan wrote in a famous profile filled with words like ‘reclusive’, ‘cold’ and ‘aloof’. (‘I have met Rian Malan only once in my life,’ Coetzee responded later. ‘He does not know me and is not ...
... under World Bank control. Not long ago I was at a lunch meeting addressed by Nelson Mandela where Rian Malan asked Mandela how white fears of what African nationalism would do in South Africa could be assuaged in the light of the record of African nationalism in the rest of the continent. Mandela’s reply was that African nationalist regimes had done ...

Fear in the Miracle Nation

R.W. Johnson, 2 November 1995

The Liberal Slideaway 
by Jill Wentzel.
South African Institute of Race Relations, 430 pp., R 59.99, October 1995, 0 86982 445 7
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... out of South Africa in several years: as an exercise in truth-telling it bears comparison with Rian Malan’s My Traitor’s Heart but whereas Malan derived many of his insights from his long exile, Jill Wentzel is one of the very few who have made the long march through the institutions. She was a founder member of ...

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