In This Review

What's Gone Wrong?: South Africa on the Brink of Failed Statehood
What's Gone Wrong?: South Africa on the Brink of Failed Statehood
By Alex Boraine
NYU Press, 2014, 174 pp

Boraine, an influential white antiapartheid activist, has written a scathing critique of the African National Congress, the black-dominated party that has ruled South Africa for the past two decades. Boraine’s account of the party’s corruption breaks no new ground; nor does his argument that the ANC’s intolerance of criticism results from the antidemocratic internal culture the party forged during its long struggle for power. More interesting are the book’s details on the strategies the ANC has used to weaken the independence of the judiciary and emasculate the legislature while maintaining party unity. Boraine hopes that strains will eventually appear between the ANC’s different factions, but he doubts that any real threats to the party’s power will soon materialize. His focus on political maneuvering means that he spends less time exploring the ANC's disappointing record on promoting economic growth and alleviating poverty. Still, this heartfelt critique of South Africa’s status quo deserves to be read.