Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela (1994)
This is a truly remarkable book, a fabulous reading experience, so important that it transcends geography and genre. Everyone should read it! Inspirational, emotional and educational.
A History of South Africa by Leonard Thompson (1992)
A revised edition of a history of South Africa which focuses on the experiences of the black inhabitants from the earliest known human settlement through to the present day. Includes a new chapter on South Africa’s transition from a racist political order to a democratic one.
Beyond the Miracle, Inside the New South Africa by Allister Sparks (2009)
A follow-up to the South African journalist’s Tomorrow is Another Country (1996), here is the story of the political and social transformation of South Africa over the last ten years, including its accomplishments, failures and present day challenges.
Diamonds, Gold, and War: The British, the Boers, and the Making of South Africa by Martin Meredith (2008)
Southern Africa was once regarded as a worthless jumble of British colonies, Boer republics, and African chiefdoms, a troublesome region of little interest to the outside world. But then prospectors chanced upon the world’s richest deposits of diamonds and gold, setting off a titanic struggle between the British and the Boers for control of the land. The result was the costliest, bloodiest, and most humiliating war that Britain had waged in nearly a century, and the devastation of the Boer republics.
Every Secret Thing by Gillian Slovo (1997)
A passionate witness to the colossal upheaval that has transformed her native South Africa, Gillian Slovo has written a memoir that is far more than a story of her own life. For she is the daughter of Joe Slovo and Ruth First, South Africa’s pioneering anti-apartheid white activists, a daughter who always had to come second to political commitment.
Spud by John van de Ruit (2008)
John “Spud” Milton takes his first hilarious steps toward manhood in this delicious, laugh-out-loud boarding school romp, full of midnight swims, raging hormones, and catastrophic holidays. A wonderful read, this book also has great insight into the uniquely South African boarding school childhood.
The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony (2012)
When South African conservationist Lawrence Anthony was asked to accept a herd of “rogue” wild elephants on his Thula Thula game reserve in Zululand, his common sense told him to refuse. But he was the herd’s last chance of survival: they would be killed if he wouldn’t take them. In order to save their lives, Anthony took them in. In the years that followed he became a part of their family. And as he battled to create a bond with the elephants, he came to realize that they had a great deal to teach him about life, loyalty, and freedom.
The Last Rhinos by Lawrence Anthony (2012)
When one of Lawrence Anthony’s rhinos was brutally slaughtered for her horn, he didn’t hesitate to lead an armed response against the poachers. Then he learned that there were only a handful of northern white rhinos left in the wild, living in an area of the Congo controlled by the infamous Lord’s Resistance Army and soon to be hunted into extinction. What followed was an extraordinary adventure, as he headed into the jungle to negotiate with the rebels, while battling to save his own animals from terrible drought and to save the eyesight of his beloved elephant matriarch Nana.