In This Review

Until We Have Won Our Liberty: South Africa After Apartheid
Until We Have Won Our Liberty: South Africa After Apartheid
By Evan Lieberman
Princeton University Press, 2022, 344 pp.

Recent accounts of South Africa since the end of apartheid have rarely been flattering, focusing typically on the country’s slow economic growth, widening social inequality, and corruption. With a mixture of sober social science analysis and engaging personal travelogue, Lieberman defends the country’s record, particularly its ability to sustain for several decades a dynamic democracy with free and fair elections, a vibrant press, and an independent judiciary. He also ably documents South Africa’s achievements in improving education, housing, and public health, showing that, over the last 25 years, the country has mostly matched or surpassed the accomplishments of comparable upper-middle-income countries. Lieberman acknowledges the growing discontent among South Africans and notes that the white minority tends to be much more critical of the government than Black South Africans, even though the former’s position of relative privilege has largely been protected by the post- apartheid order. He writes lucidly about the economic and political shortcomings on which other accounts focus, but he makes an eloquent case for the remarkable progress South Africa has made in the wake of apartheid’s brutal legacy.