Reading Up on South Africa

With the passing of Nelson Mandela this week, I thought it would be a good time read up on South Africa.

I  ordered Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game that Made a Nation, the story of how rugby brought healing to a nation. I look forward to digging into it.

playing the enemy





For those wondering where to start, I’ve compiled a short list of books and movies about South Africa. I’m sure there are many more (and perhaps better) items, but I wanted to confine my list to things I have actually read or seen.


Cry the Beloved Country, by Alan Paton 

This novel, which has become a classic, details the racial tensions in South Africa in the 1940’s. Extremely powerful.

cry the beloved country





The Covenant, by James Michener

Another great Michener novel, set against the backdrop of the birth and rise of South Africa. I think I am going to re-read this.

the covenant





The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African Wild, by Lawrence Anthony

I picked this book put at the Cape Town airport a few years back, and didn’t put it down for the entire 12-hour flight to Dubai. It is about a conservationist who agrees to take in a herd of “rogue” elephants. The story of how he tames them and builds a relationship with them is amazing.

elephant whisperer






Cry, the Beloved Country (based on the book)

cry the beloved country movie





Cry Freedom

This movie is about black activist Steve Biko and a liberal white newspaper reporter who was instrumental in telling Biko’s story to the world. (Based on a book by the same name)

cry freedom movie





And finally, I found this article by Ed Stetzer on his Christianity Today blog, to be very helpful: Nelson Mandela Has Died: Some history, thoughts, and reaction from South African pastors. In fact it inspired me to write this post.

What have I missed? What are your favorite resources on South Africa and Nelson Mandela?