Chasing the Rainbow: South Africa’s Move from Mandela to Zuma

Feb 23, 2011
Two decades into South Africa's democracy the ‘rainbow nation’ seems to be drifting and in search of a new policy direction to help it overcome its daunting challenges. This book is IRR's argument on what has gone wrong and what needs to be done to fix South Africa.

chasing the rainbowThis book explains how South Africa has moved from the Mandela era to the Zuma one. It does so by reference to ten crucial policy areas which it terms the ‘ten pillars of democracy’.

The ‘ten pillars’ range from individual rights and racial goodwill to growth-focused policies, free enterprise, and good citizenship. Scores assigned to each pillar provide a shorthand way of summing up the country’s performance from May 1994 to April 2009 and mark the start of a new annual monitor of democracy, the ‘Rainbow’ index.

Writes Rian Malan, author of My Traitor’s Heart and Resident Alien:

The book you’re holding contains a vanishingly rare and valuable commodity. You could call it information, I suppose, but that’s misleading… The commodity we lack is clarity, and that’s what Anthea Jeffery provides in Chasing the Rainbow.

At its simplest level, Chasing the Rainbow is a dispassionate assessment of South Africa’s progress since l994 in ten critical areas, ranging from the rule of law and effective governance to liberating the poor and fighting crime. Jeffery hands out plaudits where merited, but for the most part, her analysis reveals a country struggling desperately to fulfil the hopes that attended the dawn of the Rainbow era…

But all is not lost. As Jeffery notes, South Africa is a democratic country with a vigorous free Press. As our problems mount, debate has intensified, and the process might yet reveal solutions. Jeffery’s great achievement in this book is a precise and clinical dissection of those problems. As such, it could be a critical part of our salvation.

Anthea Jeffery holds law degrees from the University of the Witwatersrand and from Cambridge, and a doctorate in human rights law from the University of London. Her previous books include Business and Affirmative Action, The Truth about the Truth Commission and People’s War: New Light on the Struggle for South Africa.

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