Twenty years after the end of apartheid, a new generation is building a multiracial democracy in South Africa but remains mired in economic inequality and political conflict.
The death of Nelson Mandela in 2013 arrived just short of the twentieth anniversary of South Africa’s first free election, reminding the world of the promise he represented as the nation’s first Black president. Despite significant progress since the early days of this new democracy, frustration is growing as inequalities that once divided the races now grow within them as well.
In After Freedom, award-winning sociologist Katherine S. Newman and South African expert Ariane De Lannoy bring alive the voices of the “freedom generation,” who came of age after the end of apartheid. Through the stories of seven ordinary individuals who will inherit the richest, and yet most unequal, country in Africa, Newman and De Lannoy explore how young South Africans, whether Black, White, mixed race, or immigrant, confront the lingering consequences of racial oppression. These intimate portraits illuminate the erosion of old loyalties, the eruption of class divides, and the heated debate over policies designed to redress the evils of apartheid. Even so, the freedom generation remains committed to a united South Africa and is struggling to find its way toward that vision.
“The structural and historical roots of such disparities, and the social friction and significant emigration they feed, are succinctly analyzed amid generous excerpts from interviews and diaries.”
“Rare are the works which provide us with an insight into the past through the present.... This is a book that deserves to be read…by all.”
“Anyone interested in the progress of the 'new' South Africa 20 years into its multiracial democracy need look no further than After Freedom—a powerful, well-researched, and thoroughly readable book. Newman and De Lannoy include hard demographic and economic data but it is their sustained and deeply personal interviews which prove both fascinating and discomforting. As in all democracies, including the United States, the pace of change is maddeningly slow for all too many.”
—Charlayne Hunter-Gault, journalist and author of New News Out of Africa
“Written with verve and in an often lyrical style this book takes you into the depths of the everyday life of seven post-apartheid young South Africans. Set in the extraordinary urban experiment of contemporary Cape Town, Katherine Newman and Ariane de Lannoy succeed in bringing to vivid life the complexity of young South Africans seeking to make a life for themselves. Without being judgmental they surface and contextualize the intense experiences of personal failure and success through which young people in South Africa are going. This book will help you understand what it means to live in one of the world’s major social laboratories.”
—Professor Crain Soudien, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at University of Cape Town, South Africa