Reinventing a Continent by Andre Brink
As novelist, as journalist, as critic, as teacher, Andre Brink has been both witness and protagonist in the astonishing transition of South Africa from repressive police state to emergent democracy. An Afrikaner with a keen interesting his own tradition and an implacable enemy of apartheid, a widely translated novelist and a lecturer with an international reputation, Brink's total commitment to individual and political freedom has been consistent for over three decades. The work collected here is drawn from lectures, essays and journalism of the past ten years. Ranging in tone from academic speculation to bare-knuckled polemic, with the occasional gleam of personal reminiscence, they interweave to form a vision of a decade in which the habits of centuries were hurled, by choice, into reverse. Defining the role of the writer in wider society was no longer an abstract theme to stir debate, but pressing and dangerous necessity. The world of letters had to confront the urgent need to open up the franchise, hand over the levers and the engines of power - the need, in short, to reinvent an entire continent.