The White Tribe of Africa: South Africa in Perspective
By David Harrison
University of California Press, 1982, 307 pp.
Blood River: The Passionate Saga of South Africa's Afrikaners and of Life in Their Embattled Land
By Barbara Villet
Everest House, 1982, 213 pp.
Afrikaners complain that no one in the outside world can understand them. Two new books aimed at a popular audience, however, depict the Afrikaner past and present with great empathy, through portraits of individuals. Television producer Harrison has set down a prose version of the BBC series he produced in 1980-balancing Afrikaner travails in the great trek and the Boer War against the hardships of their black countrymen today; Afrikaner feelings about their country against the responses of blacks in the townships and homelands. Villet, a former Life reporter with family roots in South Africa, goes over much of the same territory in a more superficial way. Vivid in the historical sections, her account sheds a deceptively romantic gloss over harsh present-day realities in the Republic.