8 Books you should read before visiting South Africa
Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
Long Walk to Freedom is an autobiography of the South African President Nelson Mandela. The book covers all the notable moments in his life; his childhood and youth, becoming freedom fighter and lasting 27 years imprisonment by South Africa’s apartheid regime on Robben Island.
The Bang-Bang Club: Snapshots from a Hidden War’ by Greg Marinovich and João Silva
The Bang-Bang Club: Snapshots from a Hidden War tells the story of a group of young South African photographers active during the last year of the apartheid regime. The book was jointly written by two of them and describes the friendship, stress and dilemmas of the job at the end of the racist white South Africa.
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
A memoir of Trevor Noah, South African comedian known for his role as a host of The Daily Show. Born under apartheid regime to a white Swiss father and black Xhosa mother, a relationship that was illegal at the time; Noah describes growing up during this turbulent time in South Africa’s history.
Diamonds, Gold, and War: The British, the Boers, and the Making of South Africa by Martin Meredith
The history of South Africa from the possession of the Cape Colony and discovery of diamonds through to 1910 and the Union of South Africa. The book focuses on the struggles between British, Boer and African Native communities and how it shaped South African nation as it is today.
Country of My Skull by Antjie Krog
A personal report on the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a court-like justice committee formed in South Africa after the abolition of apartheid. The TRC was intended to compensate the victims of human rights violations and to bring some of the perpetrators to justice.
Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton
Set in South Africa during the time of growing racial tension just before apartheid was imposed. The book follows a story of a Zulu pastor Stephen Kumalo , who travels from his home village to Johannesburg in search of his missing son.
Burger’s Daughter by Nadine Gordimer
Burger’s Daughter is a political and historical novel set in South Africa in the sixties and seventies. It follows the life of a fictional character Rosa Burger, a daughter of a white anti-apartheid activist. The book references to actual historical events and focuses on the impact the apartheid had on South African society.
The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
Set in South Africa during the World War II, the novel tells the story of a young South African boy Peekay. After meeting an amateur boxer Hoppie Groenewald, Peekay is determined to become the welterweight champion of the world.