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

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The Inheritors An Intimate Portrait of South Africa's Racial Reckoning by Fairbanks, Eve, 9781476725277
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  • ISBN: 9781476725277 | 1476725276
  • Cover: Paperback
  • Copyright: 7/18/2023

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Winner of the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction

This “elegant” and “unfailingly empathetic” narrative (The New York Times) follows three ordinary South Africans living through the most extraordinary reckoning with race and power any modern country has ever faced.

Dipuo, who grew up in apartheid-era Johannesburg’s largest Black township, conceived her only daughter, Malaika, on the mine dump that separated the Black city from the white one. Christo, one of the last white men drafted to police that boundary, would come to realize—one night on the same mine dump—that everything he had been taught to believe was collapsing to make way for something unprecedented. For Malaika and her peers would be born to a historic destiny: to grow up and live in a Black-led society.

All three—Dipuo, Christo, Malaika—and so many other South Africans would make new lives while facing huge questions: How can we let go of our pasts? How can we, as individuals, pay historic debts? And what will people who care passionately about being good do when the meaning of right changes overnight?

The Inheritors tells a story about the unexpected fates that lie ahead for other countries now facing their own reckonings over history, race, and power. Written at the intersection of politics and psychology and told through an unorthodox blend of “richly drawn” lives and “incisive observations” (The New York Review of Books), acclaimed journalist Eve Fairbanks brings a coming world “vividly into focus” (The Washington Post). “Resonant with the current American situation,” The Inheritors “draws out tangled emotions with such skill and sensitivity” (The New York Times) to arrive at subtle truths and new revelations about our responsibilities to the past—and to the future.
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