For a book belonging to this genre--local color and pop anthropology by journalists sojourning in exotic places--this very lively take on South Africa by Economist correspondent Sebastian Mallaby is not bad. We meet and learn the wisdom and folly of businessmen and bureaucrats, witch doctors and experts on land tenure. Unfortunately, readers must also digest history by hearsay, an overdose of patronizing advice (Africans must outgrow their "culture of indiscipline" and learn to work hard and love capitalism) and even a touch of racism (will blacks in South Africa recapitulate the failures of black people elsewhere in the world?), despite the author's well-meaning efforts to be politically evenhanded.
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