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The Plot to Save South Africa

The Week Mandela Averted Civil War and Forged a New Nation

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About The Book

‘Superbly reported, compelling . . . wonderfully captures the spirit of that time’ Financial Times

'Gripping and important' Observer
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Nine days that set the course of a nation...

Johannesburg, Easter weekend, 1993. Nelson Mandela has been free for three years and is in slow-moving power-sharing talks with President FW de Klerk when a white supremacist shoots Mandela’s popular young heir apparent, Chris Hani, in the hope of igniting an all-out civil war. Will he succeed in plunging South Africa into chaos, safeguarding apartheid for perhaps years to come? Or can Mandela and de Klerk overcome their differences and mutual suspicion and calm their followers, plotting a way forward?

In The Plot to Save South Africa, acclaimed South African journalist Justice Malala recounts the riveting story of the next nine days – never before told in full – revealing rarely seen sides of both Mandela and de Klerk, the fascinating behind-the-scenes debates within each of their parties over whether to pursue peace or war, and their increasingly desperate attempts to restrain their supporters despite mounting popular frustrations.

Flitting between the points of view of over a dozen characters on all sides of the conflict, Justice Malala offers an illuminating look at successful leadership in action… and a terrifying reminder of just how close a country we think of today as a model for racial reconciliation came to civil war.
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‘A dramatic work of history, prodigiously reported and beautifully crafted. Justice Malala is a first-rate storyteller, deftly weaving history with a narrative that reads like a novel. I couldn’t put it down’ Jonathan Eig, New York Times bestselling author of Ali: A Life

‘Magnificent, furious and unputdownable’ Andrew Harding, BBC Africa correspondent and author of These Are Not Gentle People

About The Author

Odidi Bukashe

Justice Malala is one of South Africa’s foremost political commentators and the author of the #1 bestseller We Have Now Begun Our Descent: How to Stop South Africa Losing its Way. A longtime weekly columnist for The Times (South Africa), he has also written for The Washington PostThe Wall Street JournalThe Guardian, and Financial Times, among other outlets. The former publisher of The Sowetan and Sunday World, he now lives in New York.

About The Readers

Odidi Bukashe

Justice Malala is one of South Africa’s foremost political commentators and the author of the #1 bestseller We Have Now Begun Our Descent: How to Stop South Africa Losing its Way. A longtime weekly columnist for The Times (South Africa), he has also written for The Washington PostThe Wall Street JournalThe Guardian, and Financial Times, among other outlets. The former publisher of The Sowetan and Sunday World, he now lives in New York.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio UK (April 4, 2023)
  • Runtime: 9 hours and 35 minutes
  • ISBN13: 9781398522619

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Raves and Reviews

Superbly reported, compelling . . . wonderfully captures the spirit of that time’

– Financial Times

'Gripping and important'

– Observer

A dramatic work of history, prodigiously reported and beautifully crafted. Justice Malala is a first-rate storyteller, deftly weaving history with a narrative that reads like a novel. I couldn’t put it down

– Jonathan Eig, New York Times bestselling author of Ali: A Life

Magnificent, furious, nuanced and un-put-downable. Malala steers us through the hatred, the grief, and the courage that shaped one nation-shaking week. The result is a searing thriller, a deeply moving work of investigative journalism, and a mesmerising reminder of what leadership can achieve - and what South Africa almost squandered’

– Andrew Harding, BBC Africa correspondent

‘A suspenseful nonfiction thriller

– Kirkus

Fast-paced, gripping, and expertly crafted, this book reads like a political thriller. With thorough reporting and vivid writing, Justice Malala delivers readers into the heart of South Africa as it faced unprecedented upheaval. The result is a brilliant, moving, and extraordinary account of nine days that shaped a country and a continent, with the entire world looking on’

– Toluse Olorunnipa, co-author of His Name is George Floyd

‘Although heart-wrenching at times, Malala's immaculately researched account underscores the power of Mandela’s great leadership in unimaginably difficult times’

– Booklist Starred Review

Doggedly researched and immersively told, this is a fascinating study of a nation on the brink.

– Publishers Weekly

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