50 People Who Stuffed Up South Africa - Alexander Parker

This book had all the elements of an award winning novel.  It made me laugh, cry, gasp in shock, shake my head in disbelief and nod vigorously in agreement.  Unfortunately it’s not a novel but a true account of how much can go wrong in a country brimming with potential.


This is a very important book for every single South African and even though I am an eternal optimist when it comes to this country of my heart it would be idiotic and naïve to ignore the dark side of South Africa.


And as I firmly believe as knowledge is power, buying this book was a way to understand these atrocities better so I don’t have to keep my mouth shut when “professional” whiners just spew negativity about SA, normally blaming everything that goes wrong in their own lives on the corruption in our current Government or on the disadvantages created by Apartheid. 


The book shows that corruption, greed and the horrors that this produce is not restricted to the colour of your skin.  We have suffered through white dominated, corrupt governments before 1994,   comparable to the ANC gravy train in many ways but for the longest time we were just not as privy to this information by way of the media as we are today.  That privilege, NO right, to information may very soon be taken away from us again if the secrecy bill gets passed.


Not everyone will agree with the entire selection of villains who made the cut for this book but I can guarantee you that everyone will approve with at least ¾.   The Zapiro cartoons at the start of almost every chapter were also priceless and I have had more than one very interesting conversation with friends about this book already. 


I must confess that I only glanced at the sections about Kevin Petersen and Richie Benaud both who are not South African and in my opinion could have been left out but the rest were all infamous and made for riveting reading.  The writing style is equal parts fact, sarcasm and satire and any book that expands the mind while at the same time can spark amazing conversations deserves recommending and that’s why I rounded off my rating to a full 5 stars.


Finally I have a request to all the doomsayers and ex-pats out there who surely will want to devour this book immediately.  Stop rubbing your hands together in gleeful shaudenfreude, muttering “I told you so” while polishing your framed emigration papers for a minute and please also read 50 Flippen Brilliant South Africans.


I wanted to include some choice quotes but I marked so many passages that the book ended up looking like a Chinese fan when I was done so I will rather include a passage from the author in the introduction which sums up my feelings:


“While the various and varied characters featured on these pages may have done their best to stuff up this fine land in which we live in, I must declare their collective failure.  It’s why I choose to live here, I love this place”