R W Johnson is without peer as a historian of modern South Africa. In 1977, he published How Long Will South Africa Survive?, a model of realpolitik at the time of the Cold War, offering no facile prophecies; and in 2004, a boldly revisionist history of the country from its earliest beginnings, South Africa: The First Man, The Last Nation. Both books were notable for their robust honesty, meticulous scholarship and polemical vigour, qualities again very much to the fore in this (somewhat cumbrously titled) new work, South Africa’s Brave New World: The Beloved Country Since the End of Apartheid.
Johnson begins by describing the assessment of the new South Africa’s chances of success made in 1991 by the American political scientist Francis Fukuyama, which he now regards as ‘the most far-sighted of the myriad analyses delivered’ in that period. As Johnson writes:
Fukuyama was much concerned