The end is nigh

R.W. Johnson: 40-odd years prophesying the end for South Africa

This updated version of How Long Will South Africa Survive? sees the country more crippled than ever by corruption, cronyism and greed

Rian Malan

“…we find a network of what Johnson calls ‘warlords and patronage lords’ running the provinces, and below them, a new class of black businessmen and government mandarins who work together to divert state resources into their own pockets. As Johnson sees it, this ‘predatory’ elite can feed its voracious appetite only by redistribution away from others, in the process impoverishing everyone but itself. ‘This is not some form of aberration from the liberation struggle,’ he says. ‘A glance around Africa shows that this is liberation.’

Ten years ago, Johnson would have been crucified for saying such things, but How Long? Mark II was greeted by an ominous silence here in South Africa, making its way on to local bestseller lists without any review attention, not even attacks from Johnson’s enemies. It seems even they are reconciled to the fact that Johnson is right again: South Africa is in crisis.


How Long Will South Africa Survive?: The Looming Crisis R.W. Johnson

Hurst, pp.288, £25

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