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Nelson Mandela is dead and his dream of a rainbow nation in South Africa is fading. Twenty years after the fall of apartheid the white Afrikaner minority fears cultural extinction. How far are they prepared to go to survive as a people? Kajsa Norman's book traces the war for control of South Africa, its people, and its history, over a series of December 16ths, from the Battle of Blood River in 1838 to its commemoration in 2011. Weaving between the past and the present, the book highlights how years of fear, nationalism, and social engineering have left the modern Afrikaner struggling for identity and relevance. Norman spends time with residents of the breakaway republic of Orania, where a thousand Afrikaners are working to construct a white-African utopia. Citing their desire to preserve their language and traditions, they have sequestered themselves in an isolated part of the arid Karoo region. Here, they can still dictate the rules and create a homeland with its own flag, currency and ideology. For a Europe that faces growing nationalism, their story is more relevant than ever. How do people react when they believe their cultural identity is under threat?Bridge Over Blood River's haunting and subversive evocation of South Africa's racial politics provides some unsettling answers.
'A Hero's Curse' is the story of the modern Venezuelans whose lives have taken shape in the shadow of Simon Bolivar and his most passionate disciple, Comandante Hugo Chavez. For nearly two hundred years Venezuela's political leaders have evoked the legacy of their liberator, Bolivar, to stir popular support. While Bolivar's heroic struggle helped free a continent, his affinity for dictatorial rule spawned a vicious cycle of liberation and tyranny that has always haunted Venezuela. Since Chavez's death, the battle for Venezuela's future has intensified. Amidst a collapsing economy, escalating violence, and shortages of basic goods, there are increasing calls for a change of leadership. Rivals for power compete in demonstrating to the masses that they are the new, true, Venezuelan hero come to set them free.Kajsa Norman chronicles the rise and fall of Chavez and the tragic impact of Venezuela's 'heroic' politics on ordinary citizens. The stage is set for yet another turn in Venezuela's cycle of perpetual liberation, with a new generation of leaders clamouring for the title of national hero.
Nelson Mandela is dead and in South Africa his dream of a rainbow nation is fading. Twenty-two years after the fall of apartheid, groups of white Afrikaners have cut themselves off from this unpredictable country, fearing that their language, culture, and eventually their entire people, may soon become extinct.
Living on edge in an ever-changing nation, many have retreated to the breakaway republic of Orania, where they work to construct a utopia for white Africans. Within the safety of their laager – a homeland with its own flag and currency – they can, once again, dictate the rules. Weaving between past and present, Into The Laager traces the war for control of South Africa, its people and its history, through a series of December 16ths, beginning with the Battle of Blood River in 1838. In so doing, it takes us back to the origin of these fears: the years of nationalism and social engineering behind this modern struggle for identity and relevancy.
Along the way, Norman asks the difficult questions – those which are as relevant in today’s South Africa as they were in 1838: How do people react when they believe their cultural identity is under threat? And how far are we prepared to go to survive as a people?
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