The Inheritors

The Inheritors An Intimate Portrait of South Africa's Racial Reckoning

Eve Fairbanks2022
"A decade in the making, The Inheritors tracks three ordinary South Africans over fifty years in a sweeping, exquisitely written look at what really happens after a country resolves to end white supremacy. Dipuo grew up on the south side of the mine dump that separated Johannesburg's Black townships from the white-only city. Some nights she hiked to the top. On the other side were glittering lights as well as, she knew, prejudice and hubris; on her side there was dust but also love. To a South African teenager in the 1980s-even an anti-apartheid activist like Dipuo-the divide appeared eternal. But then, in 1994, the world's last explicitly segregationist regime collapsed to make way for something unprecedented. The end of apartheid carried South Africa past a point the United States and Europe are still moving slowly towards: the ascent to political, cultural, and intellectual power of members of the demographic groups the countries once colonized or enslaved. The Inheritors weaves together the stories of Dipuo, her daughter Malaika, and Christo-one of the last White South Africans drafted to fight for apartheid as the system crumbled around him-to consider what happens when people once locked into certain kinds of power relations find their status shifting. With intimate reporting, keen psychological insight, and luminous prose, the book probes how everyday people grapple with great social change, exploring questions that preoccupy not only South Africans but so many of us today: How can we let go of our individual and national pasts? How should old debts be paid? How much sympathy do we owe one another? And how does a person live an honorable life in a society that-for both better and worse-they no longer recognize?"--
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