MOVE YOUR SHADOW: South Africa, Black and White by Joseph Lelyveld

MOVE YOUR SHADOW: South Africa, Black and White

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A subjective appraisal of the South African dilemma as seen firsthand by the twice-South African correspondent for The New York Times. Lelyveld had the rare opportunity to personally observe South Africa at two critical junctures in its troubled history--the mid-1960's and the recent few years. The interim was occasioned by his having been booted out of that country by its leadership in 1966 as a result of his critical reportage. Upon his return a generation later, Lelyveld was appalled to find that that which he had criticized had not improved. Expecting to find at least ""superficial progress,"" he found instead ""massive ideological reinforcement."" Apartheid, which had become official state policy in 1948, was more entrenched than ever. From his Johannesburg hotel room, Lelyveld could observe South African police as they brutalized black men stopped ""legally"" for breaking the ""pass laws."" These laws ensure that blacks and whites will remain in their appointed sectors, an arrangement that makes South Africa's sociological map appear like a checkerboard. (Flaunting of pass laws account annually for over 120,000 arrests of blacks in Johannesburg alone.) Over Lelyveld's narrative continually hovers the ominous threat of what Afrikaners call ""it,"" the feared catacylsm that revolutionists hope will usher in the black Republic of Azania, following in Zimbawe's footsteps, and which whites await with fear and loathing. As Lelyveld reminds us, ""revolutionary movements often are born just at the moment when true reformers begin to make impacts."" This is a book which appears at a timely moment. It suffers slightly from Lelyveld's subjectivity, but until the expected onslaught of books on the subject appears, it is sure to be widely discussed.

Pub Date: Nov. 8th, 1985
Publisher: Times Books