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Can Zuma be the new Lula?

Post-apartheid South Africa is often seen as a disintegrating nation. But two new books show that its story could be more like Brazil's then Zimbabwe's

South Africa’s Brave New World: The Beloved Country Since the End of Apartheid By RW Johnson (Allen Lane, £25)

After Mandela: The Battle for the Soul of South Africa By Alec Russell (Hutchinson, £18.99)

From afar, South Africa is often viewed through a fog of pessimism. After the heroic transition from apartheid under Nelson Mandela many see the country as bedevilled by rampant corruption, unreliable water and power supplies, an Aids emergency and shockingly violent crime.

In 2008, moreover, political crisis added to this toxic cocktail. In September, President Thabo Mbeki was unceremoniously ejected from office, after his opponents,…

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