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?


A Whale of a Plane

I’m sitting in the Dubai International Airport, awaiting my next flight.  This place is quite the international crossroads.  Even at 6:30 in the morning it’s all hustle and bustle.  From where I am sitting I see people drinking coffee, eating seafood, and surfing the internet.  Over in one gate area is a Chinese group listening to their tour guide give them instructions on how to be civilized tourists.  He’s been at it since before the sun came up!!

My flight from Beijing was on the new A380 plane .  It is said that the upper deck of the plane has private suites and a shower.  I was slightly tempted to sneak up the stairs for a peek, but wisely decided against it. For about 2 hours of the flight we were over Pakistan.  That was a bit surreal for me.

Flying this monster reminded me of our family’s first flight on the Boeing 747, back in 1970.  The 747 was a brand new aircraft and was so much bigger than anything else flying.  We were flying from London to Chicago on Pan Am.  The plane was parked out on the tarmac, so were taken to it by bus.  When we got off the bus and my mom looked up at the TWO flights of stairs to climb to board, she announced, “I’m not getting on that thing!”  And since that wasn’t really an option, my dad, sister, and I got behind her and literally pushed her up the stairs.

Onward to Cape Town….