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Saturday, December 5, 2009


Francis Wilson presents a short, short history of South Africa.

An asteroid the size of Table Mountain crashed into what was to become South Africa over two billion years ago, marking the spot. The country’s history since then has always been robust and full of energy. Francis Wilson's Dinosaurs, Diamonds & Democracy takes readers in record time from that moment, when the earth’s richest gold reefs were shaped, to the advent of democracy in 1994, another event that stunned the world.

Along the way you will encounter some of the most ancient dinosaurs on record, the very first people on the planet, and the first cultures. You will see outsiders moving in to reshape history: hunters and gatherers, cultivators and herders, iron-workers from the north, and immigrants from Europe and Asia. They fought and made peace; they stumbled upon gold and diamonds; they rose to the heights of excellence and sunk to the depths of oppression, until on one day they all queued as equals to elect a government.

Francis Wilson, an emeritus professor at the University of Cape Town, taught in the School of Economics for 40 years. He has written widely on the South African political economy, founded the South African Labour & Development Research Unit and directed the Second Carnegie Inquiry into Poverty and Development. He was Chairperson of the Council of the University of Fort Hare and chaired the National Water Advisory Council.

Dinosaurs, Diamonds and Democracy is published by Umuzi Publishers, a division of Randon-Struik. It is produced in softcover, RRP: R135, ISBN 978-1-4152-0086-5