A Rainbow In The Night: The Tumultuous Birth Of South Africa, by Dominique Lapierre
At the basis of this book there is a severe flaw that limits its enjoyment reading after it was published. The author really wants to make Nelson Mandela seem like the savior of his country, but this is a book that does not age well at all. The reasons why this book does not sit well are complex, but much of it has to do with the tediously leftist approach of the author in general, who seems to believe that it is only through being a race traitor that one can salvage the honor of one’s people if one happens to be a white South African. Even as someone who believes apartheid to have been unjust, that is just not an acceptable approach. This is an author who appears to believe that to not be racist one has to be anti-racist, and that in order to be anti-racist, one has to be racist against a society that is ruled and governed by whites. That is quite plainly false, and that false note makes it impossible to appreciate this work as much as one might want to given the author’s evident support of Mandela’s pragmatism in dealing with race in post-apartheid South Africa.
This book is an average sized one of about 250 pages or a bit more, with a few large chapters. The author begins with a note as well as some maps of South Africa and the Great Trek. After that the author discusses the Boer search for a new promised land that involved the Boers in a tragic conflict with the English that left a lot of scars in the people concerning the way that the British treated them during and immediately after the Boer war (1). After that the author discusses the bulldozers that sought to destroy all evidence of racial harmony within South Africa through the rigid separation of white and black with a high degree of violence directed by the state against blacks and race traitors (2). The author pivots from this discussion to a focus on a couple of whites who, in the author’s mind, served as a light to recover the honor of Afrikaaners, Helen, a nurse and volunteer teacher, and Chris, a heart surgeon who pioneered heart transplants (3). After that the author discusses Mandela and his rise to power as a sign of God’s blessing to Africa (4), after which there are numerous gossipy appendices that follow the epilogue and that precede the image credits, acknowledgements, and index.
What is the price of elevation for blacks in South Africa who have long been oppressed? In the aftermath of the fall of apartheid, the external limits to the success of blacks in law have largely been addressed. But, as has been the case for blacks in the United States, one can remain enslaved to false systems of dependency and entitlement through mistaken beliefs and worldviews that lead to systematic failures to thrive even when formal barriers to elevation are not lacking. Mandela was wise enough to realize, thanks to the example of nearby Zimbabwe, that the flight of whites would lead to economic disaster for South Africa. It remains to be seen whether contemporary South Africa is willing to maintain that understanding, and whether other nations are able to learn about the folly of adopting the views of structural racism that are so popular among the clueless revolutionary left. South Africa, for all of its struggles, reminds the United States and other nations about what happens when one panders to black activists, and that is a sobering lesson indeed that ought to help us prevent the same mistakes here about the desirability of trying to appease even a black minority.