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Last Days in Cloud Cuckooland: Dispatches from White Africa - 2319

Last Days in Cloud Cuckooland: Dispatches from White Africa - 2319

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"Anyone who thinks that the ANC is going to run the government of South Africa is living in Cloud Cuckooland." --Margaret Thatcher, 1987 Seven years after the British prime minister confidently dismissed the idea of the African National Congress coming to power, Graham Boynton was in Johannesburg for South Africa's first democratic elections. The ANC was about to take over the government after all, and he was "watching the clock run down on white rule." Boynton, who grew up in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, is a member of the last wave of white Europeans to rule over a fast disintegrating colonial empire, and even though he welcomed the new democracy, he had mixed feelings about the demise of the old order. "The speed, capriciousness, and magnitude of the changes that swept through the continent in the last three decades of the twentieth century and brought us to that night in Johannesburg," he writes, "are hard for anyone raised in the orderly, evolving democracies of the West to imagine." Last Days in Cloud Cuckooland is Boynton's account of the final gasps of white culture on the continent, from the flight of the Belgian refugees from the Congo in 1960 through the first years of Nelson Mandela's presidency in South Africa. In a series of graphic accounts of the human dramas marking this disorderly retreat, he illuminates the complexity and ambiguity of the role of the whites in Africa. They "were never a unified gang of coldhearted supremacists," he writes, "any more than the blacks in Africa have been a saintly group of idealists and altruists." It is an evocative story, and as it unfolds the author is drawn toward a controversial conclusion. If the white colonials did a rather poor job of making Africa work, he argues, then their African successors have done considerably worse. "It was in Africa that my identity was forged," Boynton writes. "Somewhere amid the rapid dismemberment of colonial rule, the wars, and the triumph of black nationalism, I became a white African, and will remain so for the rest of my life, wherever I live." But he will probably not live in Africa, which has been changed forever.
ASIN: 0679432043
VSKU: RDV.0679432043.G
Condition: Good
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