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The ANC, in its rush for political control, chose power over the people instead of power of the people. History will judge them harshly.
Only a dramatic, imaginatively crafted intervention - a massive redistribution programme managed by the private sector, far-reaching policy changes in schooling, housing and health, and better, disciplined governance - will deliver the genuine liberation South Africa's still-poor millions expected from the 1994 settlement. Without the real promise of a free, meritocratic society, South Africa will flounder and fail as corruption, crime, social decay, hopelessness and anger engulf society.
This is the compelling thesis of Hlumelo Biko's hard-hitting, thoughtful analysis of South Africa's past, present and future, a sobering assessment of where we stand today, and where we need to go. At once unnervingly candid and inspiring, Biko demolishes much of the soft thinking about South Africa's future and places practical, achievable objectives for business, government and civil society. South Africa's challenge, the book argues, is to act now to avoid the mounting threat of revolt and decline that would devalue every political and economic achievement of the past decade-and-a-half. Biko, the son of two great South Africans, Steve Biko and Mamphela Ramphele, is generous in acknowledging achievements to date, but unsparing in judging the flaws and failures of the ANC-led government, of business, unions and civil society. He offers a comprehensive survey of the profound and continuing devastation visited on the country by its unjust history, and plain, rational proposals for repairing the damage.
No debate from here on about the South African future can be taken seriously without weighing Biko's insights and his warnings. The Great African Society is vividly moral in its intentions, but sober and unsentimental in examining political and economic imperatives. It is guaranteed to make the reader sit up and take stock afresh.
Publication date: 2013-02-01