19 April 2017

South Africa: Book Review - Mamphela Ramphele's 'Dreams, Betrayal and Hope'


Mamphela Ramphele's latest book is called 'Dreams, Betrayal and Hope'. If the order of the "hope" and "betrayal" were swapped, it might be an apt description of the journey of many Agang voters. Though Ramphele has kept a low public profile since the failure of her foray into party politics, her book suggests that she remains as idealistic as ever about the contribution she can make to South Africa. By REBECCA DAVIS.

The title of Mamphela Ramphele's latest book evokes Barack Obama's 2006 memoir The Audacity of Hope - but the epigraph is Edgar Allan Poe's A Dream Within A Dream, a poem which questions whether reality exists in the way we think it does. Little surprise that Ramphele might occasionally feel that way: her trajectory from a respected elder stateswoman of South African society to the political wilderness has been, at points, more than a little surreal.

The failure of Agang, the political party launched by Ramphele in June 2013, has clearly left Ramphele bruised. Whereas others might be tempted to turn their back on the public space altogether, however, Ramphele is not done. Her book burns with a fierce commitment to the idea of a better South Africa:...

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