In This Review

Morning in South Africa
Morning in South Africa
By John Campbell
Rowman & Littlefield, 2016, 244 pp

In the process of making the contrarian argument that South Africa’s prospects are promising despite the country’s current difficulties, Campbell has also written an excellent introduction to the South African political economy. After a concise history of the recent past, Campbell ably surveys such policy areas as economic development, health care, and education. He repeatedly concedes that South Africa’s performance since the end of apartheid has been mediocre at best, but he also sees reasons for meas-ured optimism. Inequality is rising, but some poverty alleviation has taken place. The quality of educational opportunities for black South Africans remains low, but there has been a notable increase in their overall access to education. Corruption is increasing and the ruling African National Congress shows signs of an authoritarian drift, but the judiciary remains professional and largely apolitical. Campbell’s optimism stems from his belief that the country’s democratic institutions are strong and resilient and that its people have already completed much of the hard work of building a “nonracial” democracy. Whether or not one finds that persuasive, the book’s reasonable tone and fact-based review of the record represent a useful antidote to more common alarmist accounts. Also welcome is Campbell’s call for more active and ambitious U.S. engagement with South Africa.